Toys are such an integral part of both kids’ and adults’ lives that we would like to think that when they are created, the process is done with lots of care and attention. But sometimes, things don’t always work out perfectly, and mistakes are made. In the case of these classic toys though, the mistakes were totally worth it since they resulted in some of the most loved and iconic playthings ever. From play-doh to the Rubik’s cube, take a look at some of the most fortunate toy mistakes.
Silly putty is one of the stretchiest and bounciest toys out there, but do you know where it actually came from? The toy goes all the way back the time of WWII when it was created as a result of a serious shortage of rubber. When researchers started working together to find an alternative to the shortage situation, they started mixing boric acid and silicone oil which resulted in a strange substance. Although it couldn’t replace rubber, its playfulness ended up making it to a toy store owner in 1949.
When a Naval mechanical engineer named Richar James accidentally struck a prototype spring to the ground, he seemingly saw the substance “walk” a number of times. The substance apparently “walked” from a stack of books onto the table and then back to the floor. When he realized that he had something interesting going on, he did his best to perfect the formula. Eventually, he managed to create a faster way to process what is simply known as slinky now, managing to sell millions.
Play-doh has been a part of several generations in different parts of the world, never losing it’s “fun factor” no matter how much older we get. But the original substance was created by a soap manufacturer as a reusable, non-staining, putty mostly used to clean coal residue. But just after WWII, the substance’s sales decreased as a result of coal heating becoming less popular. Since they needed a new use for it, they altered the formula for it to dry easier while repackaging it for children.
When Silly String was invented in 1972, it was intended for medical purposes and not to be used as a toy. But when the inventors were experimenting with it, they accidentally sprayed the substance all over the room and realized that it could actually be a fun toy. They then altered the formula for a less adhesive and more colorful option and went on to partner with the toy company Wham-O, and the rest is history.
Rubik’s cube is one of the most well-known toys worldwide, and curiously, is another toy that almost didn’t happen. When the challenging cube was initially created in 1974, its creator had no intention of it becoming a toy. Instead, when Ernő Rubik designed the toy, he had the purpose of creating a puzzle that would teach his design students the essential rules of 3D geometry. Eventually, though, he partnered with a toy corporation five years later, starting an accidental empire from that point on.
During the 1950s, a French electrician called André Cassagnes randomly discovered that aluminum power could potentially be used to create images, while he was installing an aluminum switch. He originally called the invention “The Magic Screen”, which he then sold to the Ohio Art Company. The company changed the toy’s name to the famous Etch A Sketch, debuting it during the Holiday season in 1960. Today, the toy can still be found in some households around the world.