The Slinky Success Story

Springs have been a part of some of the most innovative designs in the world over the years, but one of the most popular inventions to use a spring – namely the slinky – was actually created totally by accident.


The Story Behind the Slinky

According to the annals of history, the slinky was invented way back in 1943, when a naval engineer was attempting to use springs to solve a common problem when working at sea. The issue in question was the effect that the motion of a ship had upon many of the sensitive onboard instruments, although some tales also claim that the engineer – Richard James – was instead trying to fashion a device to monitor the power of his ship instead.

What Inspired the Slinky

Regardless of his intention, James accidentally let one of his tension springs fall to the floor from his desk, and he then watched as the spring did an extraordinary thing. Rather than just falling to the floor, the spring 'rolled' downwards and landed on the ground the right way up, and it was this graceful motion that led to the birth of the iconic 'slinky' toy. Released in 1945, the toy sold all 44 of its original units in well under two hours.  

Why Has it Stood the Test of Time

The unique charm of the slinky has enchanted many people for decades, and more than 300 million units have now been sold. Increasingly popularised in different forms, including the rainbow and 'slinky dog' variants, the slinky continues to be a popular toy because of its simplicity, and has even earned acclaim as the 'National Toy of the United States'.

Additionally, the slinky is a useful device for more practical purposes too. For example, slinky toys are extremely helpful when it comes to simulating the properties of waves, and they have even been used as makeshift radio antenna and in space experiments too. Whatever they are used for, the fascination for the slinky obviously still remains; as demonstrated by this article from Gizmodo, where a 'perpetual slinky treadmill' has been developed to prolong the entertainment of the slinky's greatest trick (walking down stairs).

Slinky's are undoubtedly one of the most famous and popular 'spring-based' devices in the world, but of course springs are equally vital within a large number of other less-beloved (but far more useful) innovations. Here at European Springs and Pressings Ltd, we are able to manufacture a large quantity of bespoke tension, compression and torsion springs (along with many other types) to suit any eventuality, so if you have a need for high quality springs that will stand the test of time please contact us by calling +44 (0) 208 663 1800 or emailing

European Springs

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