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Betty James
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (February 13, 1918-November 20, 2008)
    Along with her husband Richard, help produce and market the Slinky
    Her husband, a U.S. Naval engineer in 1943, actually invented the device, but she's credited as co-creator.
    She was a realist who didn't believe her husband's invention could 'walk' and had doubts about its reception.
    When Gimbel’s department store ordered 400 of them, she didn't think they would sell and conspired with a friend to each buy one so her husband wouldn't be discouraged. All 400 sold in 90 minutes (November 1945).
    The mother of six children stated in an interview after she retired in 1999, 'Making Slinkies was my life. It was like having a seventh child.'
    She came up with the name Slinky from the dictionary, a Swedish word meaning traespiral - sleek or sinuous.
    Her husband left her and their children to join a religious cult in Bolivia after 20 years of marriage, leaving her thousands of dollars in debt (1960). When he asked if she wanted to sell the business or run it, she said without hesitation she'd run it.
    She struggled through the crisis, taking over as CEO of James Industries and kept the Slinky going.
    She turned out successful and well respected by all, finally selling her business in 1998.
    Over 300 million Slinkies have been sold worldwide and she became the 41st inductee into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame (2001).
    A Slinky has a 90% recognition rate in the United States.
    Movies featuring the Slinky include Pixar's 'Toy Story' and 'Toy Story 2,' Jim Carrey's 'Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls' and John Waters' 'Hairspray.'
    They were carried by communications soldiers in Vietnam, who tossed them over tree branches as a makeshift radio antenna.
    The space shuttle used it to test the effects of zero gravity on the physical laws that govern the mechanics of springs.
    The U.S. Postal Service honored Slinky on a commemorative stamp (1999).
    It has been named the Official State Toy of Pennsylvania (November 4, 2001).
    The Discovery Channel and the History Channel both selected Slinky as one of the top 10 toys of the 20th Century.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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