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Fascinating facts about the invention of
Play-Doh
® by Noah and Joseph McVicker in 1956.

PLAY-DOH®
AT A GLANCE:
Play-Doh® Brand Modeling Compound, a non-toxic reusable modeling compound developed by Noah W. McVicker and Joseph S. McVicker and introduced by Rainbow Crafts of Cincinnati in 1956. Play-Doh Compound was available only in one color and size, an off-white, 1 ˝ pound can. It was test marketed one year earlier at schools, kindergartens and nursery schools.
RELATED INFO
BOOKS
VIDEOS
WEB SITES
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
Invention: Play-Doh® in 1956
Play Doh Big Barrel
Definition: noun / trademark
Function: Play-Doh is a commercial plastic modeling compound similar in texture to bread dough that has been sold as a children's toy, substitute for modeling clay, around the world for a half century.
Patent: 3,167,440 (US) issued January 26, 1965
Inventors: Noah W. McVicker and Joseph S. McVicker  
Criteria: First to invent. First to patent. Entrepreneur.
Nationality: American
Milestones:
1955 McVicker's sister-in-law, a teacher, inquired about a safe and fun modeling clay substitute
1955 Joseph sent her a sample of a non-toxic compound used to clean wallpaper. It was a hit
1956 The McVicker brothers formed Rainbow Crafts Co.to make and sell the compound, Play-Doh®
1960 Fun Factory® accessory playset added to the product line..
1965 Noan and Joseph awarded patent for a soft, pliable plastic modeling composition, Play-Doh®
1965 General Mills purchased the Rainbow Crafts Company
1971 Kenner Products merged with Rainbow Crafts.
1987 The Tonka Corporation purchased the Kenner line
1991 Play-Doh's current owner, Hasbro, purchased Tonka
1997 The Play-Doh Brand Fuzzy Pumper® Barber & Beauty Shop
play-doh, modeling compound, mcvicker, noah mcvicker, joseph mcvicker, rainbow crafts, invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
 

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Toys   from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller  / Hardcover - 128 pages  / Henry Holt & Company (2000)
The quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to Silly Putty and toy soldiers to Trivial Pursuit.
Circus Fun! (Play-Doh)
by Mary Man-Kong, Christine Benjamin) / Hardcover: 10 pages / Running Pr. Kids; (2004) / Ages 4+
Circus Fun includes three tubs of colorful PLAY-DOH modeling compound and a stencil. Adults will enjoy helping their preschoolers use PLAY-DOH to add the finishing touch to the illustrations printed on the book's extra sturdy, laminated pages.
Play Doh Art Projects
by Kathy Ross / Hardcover: 48 pages / Millbrook Press; Bk&Acces edition (April 1, 2002) / Ages 4+
The crafts have clearly written, step-by-step instructions; brightly colored cartoon illustrations; and color-mixing charts.

ON THE SCREEN:
The History of Toys and Games  
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 100 Minutes / The History Channel / Less than $30.00
As long as there have been children, there have been toys. And from wooden tops to virtual reality, America has always taken its playthings pretty seriously. Hear the fascinating stories of the young-at-heart inventors who created some of the most famous games and toys of all time, and meet the people who play for a living, trying to anticipate what kids will fall for next holiday season.

ON THE WEB:
Play-Doh® Brand Modeling Compound History
See how Hasbro has adapted their toys to entertain over eight generations of kids.
(URL: www.hasbro.com/default.asp?x=corp_history_playdoh)

National Toy Hall of Fame
Discovering that the squishy cleaning product he manufactured could substitutefor modeling clay, McVicker shipped some to the school. After teachers and kids raved, he offered to supply the product to all Cincinnati schools. More rave reviews followed.
(URL: www.strongmuseum.org/NTHoF/doh.html)

Cincinnati natives' invention becomes a popular toy
Noah W. and Joseph S. McVicker, while living in Cincinnati, received patent #3,167,440 for a soft, pliable plastic modeling composition, today better known as Play-Doh®.
(URL: www.uspto.gov/web/offices/com/speeches/02-03.htm)

Play-Doh History
Early cans are marked "1959 Rainbow Crafts Inc." and featured a lovable elf. In the early '60s the elf was dismissed and replaced by a boy dressed as an artist.
(URL: www.bigredtoybox.com/cgi-bin/toynfo.pl?playdohindex)

National Play-Doh Day
September 16th is national Play-Doh Day.
(URL: ladygatorsplace.com/play-doh.htm)
Homemade Playdough
Recipe for simple Playdough at Kids Turn Central, Crafts and Projects.
(URL: www.kidsturncentral.com/crafts/crecipe17.htm)

HOW IT WORKS:
Its exact makeup is a secret, but is primarily a mixture of wheat flour, water, deodorized kerosene or another petroleum distillate (which provides the smooth texture), salt, a drying agent such as borax (which deters mold), an alum-based hardening agent, and colorings and perfume.

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • The formula for the original Play-Doh compound still remains top secret.
  • Play-Doh Compound is the leader in the reusable compound market.
  • Today, Play-Doh Compound is sold in more than 6,000 stores in the United States and in more than 75 countries worldwide.
  • If combined, the total amount of Play-Doh Compound manufactured since 1956 would weigh more than 700 million pounds. .
  • More than 2 billion cans of Play-Doh Compound have been sold since 1956.
  • Approximately 95 million cans of Play-Doh Compound are manufactured each year
  • If all the Play-Doh Compound made since 1956 was extruded through the Fun Factory®, it would make a "snake" that would wrap around the world nearly 300 times.
  • September 16th is national Play-Doh Day.
Play-Doh is a registered trademark of Hasbro, Inc.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised November 28, 2005.
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