“In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer stationed at the William Cramp & Sons shipyards in Philadelphia, was developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas. James accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf, and watched as the spring “stepped” in a series of arcs to a stack of books, to a tabletop, and to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright. James’s wife Betty later recalled, ‘He came home and said, ‘I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension; I could make it walk.’”( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slinky). ( Dow, Sheila; Noce, Jaime E., eds. (2002). Business Leader Profiles for Students. 2. Detroit: Gale. pp. 238–241. ISBN 978-0-7876-6615-6. 3 ^ Hunter, Ron; Waddell, Michael E. (2008). Toy Box Leadership: Leadership Lessons from the Toys You Loved as a Child. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7852-2740-3. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 4^ Jump up to:a b c d “Inventor of the Week: The Slinky”. MIT School of Engineering. Archived from the original on 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 5^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k Walsh, Tim (2005). Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 62–65. ISBN 978-0-7407-5571-2 6 Przybys, John (March 1, 1998). “Novel Ideas”. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2010-02-04.). 7)
Per Wikipedia, above, the Slinky was demonstrated in Gimbels department store in Philadelphia in 1945, after which its sales exploded. You can still buy one of these wonderful toys today.
When I was about eight years old in the 50s, it was a thrill to go the the top of the stairs and release my Slinky to proceed skillfully down the stairs of our home. I guess my fascination with functioning gadgets began with that toy. Today as I sit here at my Surface Pro tablet and type away I continue to marvel at clever, useful gadgets. In fact though now retired these are the kind of gadgets that made work a lot more fun. Thank God, for even small favors.