How the Slinky played an important role in World War II

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This is a toy story.

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The new History Channel documentary, “The Toys That Built America,” premieres Sunday (Nov. 29) at 9 p.m., uncovering the astonishing history of iconic products like Slinky, Silly Putty, match cars, slingshots and board games (including Monopoly) does. ,

“It’s important to do this through the prism of history because these American toys are a part of our history. You’re talking about toys and terminology that have entered our lexicon as a culture,” said 51-year-old Jordan Says Hembrough (“Toy Hunter”), A New Jersey-based toy expert attended the show.


“People know what a Slinky is, and actually having a historical backstory behind many of these is meant to educate consumers about their childhood history.”

Through re-enactment, the show traces how the Slinky originated in the 1940s, when naval engineer Richard James was tasked with creating a device for stabilizing sensitive equipment that was used during World War II. was being carried through the rough seas.

A re-acting scene from the show, featuring an actor playing the role of engineer Richard James developing the now famous Slinky.
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“These cargo ships were traveling across the ocean and needed stabilizers, so engineer Richard James tried to invent the Slinky. But, when that didn’t work, he was able to make a toy,” said Hembrough Said. “I thought the whole backstory was really interesting.”

Actors sit around a table playing board games.
A re-enactment scene on the show shows the origins of the board game Monopoly.

He cited the Super Bounce Ball as one of his favorite toys for diving.

“Everyone grew up with a little rubber ball. We all had one or more friends who had one,” he said. “It was invented in 1964 by a chemist” [and] It also has a great backstory. I think the toys that get underestimated are the ones we use so much that we don’t realize how great they are.

“Believe it or not, my favorite toy was the simplest toy—the Frisbee—because growing up in the ’70s and early ’80s, they were all over the place. So I loved learning about it, because it was one of those toys.” that was in every house you went to.”

Hembrough himself got into the toy industry when he was a teenager.

“I started buying and selling vintage retro toys when I was 16. Getting the paper route was good and the money was good too. And I never stopped – I made a career out of it.

Jordan Hembrough wears a leather jacket and smiles.
toy specialist. Dealer, and TV host Jordan Hembrough
Gemal Countess

Since then, in addition to hosting “Toy Hunter” for the Travel Channel, he has worked with companies such as Marvel and Lucasfilms, hosting the digital series “Our Star Wars Stories” and hosting Disney’s 2019 D23 Expo.

“I think a lot of adults are getting into toys right now. There is a broad demographic,” he said. “Even toy juggler Lego is really targeting its ad campaigns toward adult collectors. Because they know adults are actually buying these high-end Lego sets for $400 or $500.

“Hasbro has a very high line of ‘Star Wars’ toys that are aimed at adult collectors. So really within the last 10 years, you can see Lucasfilm and the Star Wars and Marvel movies and the toy and comic because of their incredible influence on the cinema. Looking forward to seeing the collection come back into the mainstream.”

“Everyone had a childhood. We all had a favorite childhood toy, so this is really a series that families can watch together and really talk about shared experiences,” Hembrough said. Can talk about favorite toys. Toys are universal, so it will be liked by everyone.”


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