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Silly Putty

Silly Putty  New Haven, 1960sNew Haven, 1960s 2009.432.0

Connecticut companies have produced famous toys and games for more than a century. The list includes Wiffle Balls from Shelton, PEZ Candy from Orange, Erector Sets from New Haven, and Cabbage Patch Kids from West Hartford. The tradition started in 1843, when John and Elisha Stevens began making iron toys in Cromwell. Later, the development of consumer plastics enabled manufacturers to mass-produce products quickly and cheaply, giving children across the country access to toys that have become icons of American pop culture.

One such toy, Silly Putty, was accidentally discovered when engineer James Wright tried to develop a synthetic rubber at the General Electric laboratory in New Haven during World War II. For several years, scientists tried to find a practical use for the bouncy, stretchy substance. It was Peter Hodgson who saw its potential and brought Silly Putty to the International Toy Fair in New York in 1950. You can see early TV ads for Silly Putty an other Connecticut products in Making Connecticut.