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New Metallic Gold Silly Putty

(February 2000) - Silly Putty -- that peculiar, pinkish substance that bounces like rubber and stretches like taffy -- turns 50 today, as the American toy classic celebrates with a new color, a Web site and a place in history.

In Exhibition at the Smithsonian

A golden touch has been added to the "real solid liquid" with a new color -- Gold Silly Putty -- that glistens like gold and bounces, stretches and pulls apart just like its pinkish counterpart. A historical collection of Silly Putty, including one of the earliest known Silly Putty eggs, Gold Silly Putty and other materials spanning five decades now resides at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. A vintage blue and yellow Silly Putty egg from the early 1950's is currently on display in the museum's "Material World" exhibition devoted to significant inventions and materials that have shaped American culture.

"The Silly Putty collection at the National Museum of American History tells many fascinating stories about how this unusual product became an American phenomenon," says John Fleckner, chief archivist at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. "We were interested in this collection because Silly Putty is a case study of invention, business and entrepreneurship and longevity."

To inspire some silliness around the golden anniversary, the maker of the curious compound is giving Silly Putty fans of all ages a golden opportunity to enter the silliest uses they've invented for the timeless toy into the "Silliest Uses for Silly Putty Contest." A 14-karat gold, one-of-a-kind 50th Anniversary collectible Silly Putty egg and a lifetime supply of Silly Putty is up for grabs for the most inventive purpose provided for pounding, pressing, pulling or molding Silly Putty.

A Golden Opportunity Contest

Prolific putty users can enter their unique uses for Silly Putty through www.sillyputty.com, the official Silly Putty Web site stretching into cyberspace for the first time today. Visitors to the new site can immerse themselves in Silly Putty history, watch vintage commercials, learn how the strange substance is made and even buy a five-pound slab of original pink Silly Putty.

Known as the toy with one moving part, uses for Silly Putty -- ranging from cleaning computer keyboards to recuperating from a down day on Wall Street with a therapeutic squeeze -- are almost as numerous as the more than 20,000 eggs snapped together each day. An internal panel of silly adults will evaluate each idea based on originality, practicality and above all, silliness. Fifty honorees will be recognized, along with their inventive ideas, on "The Top Fifty Silliest Uses for Silly Putty" list to appear on the new Silly Putty Web site on June 1. All entries must be e-mailed by May 2. If you don't bring home the gold (egg that is), but your idea makes the list, a plethora of Silly Putty prizes are also being awarded. Nine runners-up making the top 10 portion of the list will receive a bulk block of original Silly Putty and a variety of Silly Putty eggs. All others making the list will receive a dozen Silly Putty eggs, including new Metallic Gold Silly Putty.

"Ordinary people have difficulty making sense of Silly Putty, which accounts for their fascination when they experience it," says Peter Hodgson, Jr., son of Peter Hodgson, Sr., creator of the ultimate use for the fortuitously invented product. "Successfully marketing Silly Putty as a toy resulted from my father's intuitive grasp of the silly relations occurring among the product's unique properties and the universal human experience." Hodgson, Jr., now a retired professor of Russian Literature from UCLA, was instrumental in stretching the toy into universality, when he introduced Silly Putty to Europe and the Soviet Union in the early 60s.

New Metallic Gold Silly Putty is now available at retail locations nationwide and wherever toys are sold for about $1.49, or $2 when packaged with original Silly Putty in the classic red plastic egg.

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