Silly String was actually invented as a spray-on cast for broken bones and sprains. When the nozzle produced long plastic-like strings, they changed the formula to be less sticky and more colorful, turning it into a novelty.
Some of the most iconic toys that have brought us joy throughout the decades were actually invented for very serious purposes. While the idea of a Slinky or Silly Putty makes us smile with nostalgia as we remember the old commercials and the fun we had using them ourselves, these items were created for entirely different purposes. It’s our luck that some clever folks saw the potential in these classics and fine-tuned them into some of the greatest toys of all time. You won’t believe why your favorite came to be!
Conversation Factoid Icebreaker: Water balloons were originally created to tackle the problem of “trench foot” in WWI. Soldiers feet would become cold and damp, which led to pain, swelling and even gangrene setting in. Edgar Ellington tried to make a waterproof sock by covering a regular one with latex. He heated the latex to increase elasticity and filled it with water to keep it intact but it failed. When he slammed it into the table out of anger, it burst and Ellington realized it made a fantastic kids toy. He brought his “water grenades” to market and we have him to thank for water balloons.