The Slinky was invented in 1943 by naval engineer Richard James. He was experimenting with tension springs for use on board ships when one of these metal coils fell to the floor and he was fascinated by its walking movement. He decided to market it as a toy and it was given the name Slinky by James’ wife Betty who discovered that Slinky means graceful in Swedish.
At its first demonstration in a department store in Philadelphia in 1945, 400 Slinkys were sold in ninety minutes. Since then over a quarter of a billion Slinkys have been sold worldwide.
The Slinky pictured is a reproduction of an early example. More recent Slinkys are made of plastic and other toys have been added to the range over the years. These include the Slinky Dog and Crazy Eyes.