silly putty
Silly Putty

  • Most kids know about Silly Putty, that stretchy, bouncy stuff that comes in a hollow plastic egg. It’s a mixture of boric acid and silicone oil, originally invented in 1945 by engineers at General Electric as a substitute for rubber.
  • The strange, new stuff, first known as “gupp,” was not a very good rubber replacement because it was too soft and sticky. No one quite knew what to do with it, but it was cool to play with, so some of the scientists took some home or kept a lump on their desk at GE.
  • It was not until 1949 that an unemployed advertisement writer named Peter Hodgson discovered a lump of “gupp” at a toy store in New Haven. The store’s owner had gotten it from a GE engineer, but wasn’t interested in marketing it.
  • It was packaged by Peter Hodgson as “Nutty Putty” and then renamed “Silly Putty.” Now it’s everywhere — it’s even been to the moon.
  • Hodgson said, “Silly Putty appeals to people of superior intellect.”