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Betty James, who coined the name Slinky for her Husband’s Invention Dies at the age of 90

In Industry, obituaries, off-beat, Technology, television on November 26, 2008 by Editor Z

Yeah, I know you are all saying who cares. But everyone born before like 1990 has owned a slinky as a kid. And here is a little history behind it.

When her husband abandoned her, their children, and James Industries (the toy company he had started), Betty James labored and resurrected the company from disaster. Appropriately enough, she like the slinky is a chapter in resilience. Just when you think something is stretched and worn down, it can be brought right back.

LA Times:

Betty James, who named the toy her husband invented — the Slinky — and rebuilt the toy company he abandoned, making the springy plaything a pervasive part of American culture, has died. She was 90.

James, who served as chief executive of the family-run business for almost 40 years, died Thursday at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a hospital spokeswoman said. No cause of death was given

In 1943, Richard James was a Navy engineer trying to figure out a way to stabilize instruments on ships at sea when a spring fell off a shelf. He watched it bounce end over end and went home to tell his wife, Betty, he thought he could make it into a toy that “walks.”

When he asked her to name it, she turned to the dictionary and found “slinky,” which means stealthy, sleek and sinuous.

Richard James tinkered with different types of steel and tension before debuting the coiled Slinky at a Gimbels department store on a snowy day in 1945 in Philadelphia.


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One Response to “Betty James, who coined the name Slinky for her Husband’s Invention Dies at the age of 90”

  1. I Owned a bright pink one!!!!!!

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