When the Japanese invasion of Asia threatened America’s rubber supply during World War II, chemists at General Electric began looking for a synthetic substitute.
James Wright stumbled upon … a stretchy material that withstood decay and bounced 25 percent higher than rubber. When left untouched, this “solid liquid” flowed in slow motion and when struck sharply, it broke into pieces.
Wright failed to find a wartime use for the goofy goo. Afterward, this “bouncing putty” or “nutty putty” amused guests at parties but did little else until toy marketer Peter Hodgson decided to list it as a novelty …for a dollar, just in time for Easter.
After a New Yorker article featured Silly Putty in 1950, orders topped 250,000 in three days. Millions have sold every year since…Astronauts even took it aboard Apollo 8 to stick down tools in zero gravity!