memories of the ’70s – Silly String

For kids in the mid 1970s, they may have asked for this from Santa, but it depends if you were naughty or nice if you got it: Silly String.

An accidental invention by Leonard A. Fish, an inventor and Robert P. Cox and inventor. The two were trying to create a material that could be sprayed on to form an instant cast for a broken arm or leg.

Getting a patent for the product in 1972, the two figured out that the product could become a fun product for kids, and approached Wham-O with their colourful samples. Spraying the string everywhere during the meeting, the two were told to clean up and leave the offices by the Wham-O executive.

But a day later the pair received a telegram asking for more samples – a senior executive had accidentally found a sample that was cleaned up and thought it might work – two weeks later Fish and Cox signed a deal with Wham-O to create Silly String.

Made in several colours, the unique product is sprayed from an aerosol can and immediately the liquid becomes a flexible slightly sticky solid. And although it was created with kids in mind, its adults that loved it.

And even though its still a toy found on the shelves, Silly String has been banned for use during Halloween and is used by the US military for detection of tripwires and booby traps. All from an accidental creation – a silly side effect for decades of fun.

About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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