Monday, March 12, 2012

The Fun Lovin' 40s

When I thought of the 1940s, I never thought of wild-and-crazy times.  I always imagined people who were always properly dressed, properly coiffed, and properly behaved.  Everything very proper.  Basically, sticks in the mud.

While that may have been the case for some people, I realized that folks in the 1940s must have also liked to have a good time.  Just look at some of the fun stuff those crazy kids invented in the 1940s:

Silly Putty - Even though it wasn't officially introduced as a toy until 1950 (after no practical use could be found for it), James Wright originally discovered it during an attempt to create synthetic rubber during WWII.

Frisbee - the actual invention date and its inventor are disputed, but Walter Morrison, the WWII veteran who managed to patent his design in the late 1940s took the credit, and the toy became a hit in the 1950s and continues to be popular today.

Slinky - discovered accidentally by mechanical engineer Richard James in 1945, and took America by storm!

These inventors are part of the 132 million people who make up the Greatest Generation, and are enumerated on the 1940 census.  Volunteers are needed to index these records!  The names, dates, places, and other information entered will become part of the online search, opening up that record’s information in ways that weren’t possible before.  Help make history by volunteering today at!

**These good-time toys should not be confused with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the psychedelic properties of which were also discovered in 1943 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He lived in Switzerland, and is not listed in the 1940 U.S. census.

Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com


Laura Aanenson said...

Who knew? What a fun post - thanks for sharing!

Michael Pierce said...

Amazing...those are some of my favorite toys growing up as well, and I wasn't born until the mid-1960s! And my kids liked all 3 as well. Good things are timeless.

If you have a minute, would love to hear what you think about my post about technology thought of in the 1940s that we still use today (like I just did in this comment with the link).

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