Many products have been created or discovered by accident and Silly Putty might be one of the most popular and best selling mistakes of all time.
During World War II there was a shortage of rubber in the United States. The government funded research into synthetic rubber compounds in an attempt to solve this shortage. Silly Putty was created in 1943 during this pursuit. The new product had useful qualities: it bounced like rubber, stretched like taffy and had adhesive qualities; it also broke into pieces and had the ability to lift pencil marks off paper. However, Silly Putty was not the sought-after substitute for rubber.
Silly Putty was called Nutty Putty when the little pink blob made of silicone polymers packaged in an egg-shaped plastic container made its debut as a toy in 1949. Its sales soared to the top of the toy chart that year. In 1961, Silly Putty went worldwide. It even reached the Moon in 1968, courtesy of the Apollo 8 astronauts who used it to secure their tools in zero-gravity.
After its success as a toy, Silly Putty was found to be useful in medical and scientific fields. It is widely used by physical therapists for rehabilitative therapy of hand injuries and as a fidget item for stress reduction. A number of other brands have emerged which alter the material's properties offering different levels of resistance, color and size of the product. Some of the names it is marketed under are Power Putty, TheraPutty, Thinking Putty and Bouncing Putty.
To date, Silly Putty has sold over 300 million eggs. Crayola, LLC (formerly the Binney & Smith company), which also owns Crayola crayons, owns the trademark name Silly Putty and currently sells 20,000 units per day.
It doesn't look like this American icon has to worry about popularity as its unique qualities continue to provide fun, exercise and stress relief to users of all ages all over the world.
Image courtesy of Eugene Peretz.
Gadget is defined as "a small specialized mechanical or electronic device". People love gadgets in the workplace because they offer some character, color and stress relief to a busy day. Office gadgets offer an ideal holiday gift for your boss, coworkers or customers. Give out some office gadgets this year and you’ll be a holiday hero. To make your holiday shopping easier, we have built an entire category of Office Gadgets for you. Here are the top 5 Office Gadgets for the 2011 Holiday Season:
Who would win a battle between Gumby and Mr. Bill? Both are animated clay figures that made their first debut to the public on popular TV shows, both have made their way into feature length films, and both are immortalized as bendable figurines. We decided to collect the facts to predict the winner of this potentially famous battle.
Debuted: August 1956
Creator: Art Clokey
Best Friend: Pokey
Claim to Fame: Gumby starred in his own television series, The Gumby Show, that aired from 1957 to 1967 and in 1988
Best Characteristic: Flexibility
Accomplishments: cameo appearance in 1987 film The Puppetoon Movie; 1995 feature length film Gumby I (aka Gumby: The Movie); 8 DVD collections (2000s); video game Gumby vs. the Astrobots (2005); appeared in campaign ads for Library of Congress (1994-1995) and Cheerios (late 1990s)
Name: Mr. Bill
Debuted: February 28, 1976
Creator: Walter Williams
Best Friend: Spot (his dog)
Nemesis: Mr. Sluggo
Claim to Fame: Mr. Bill starred in several short sketches on the television show, Saturday Night Live from 1976 to 1980
Memorable Quotes: "Ohhhh noooooooooooooo...", "Perfectly awful!", "Stunningly bad!"
Accomplishments: 1986 live-action movie Mr. Bill's Real Life Adventures; 1998 television show Ohh No!!! Mr. Bill Presents; appeared in television ads for Pringles (1980s), an anti-drug campaign (1988), Pizza Hut (1990s), Subway (2008), and MasterCard (2008)
Based on the character's personality, history and popularity, Gumby wins the battle hands down. However, we believe it's all up to the circumstance and personal preference. Take the battle into your own hands to determine who you think is the real winner.
National Boss Day has traditionally been a day for employees to recognize and thank their supervisor or boss. It started in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, registered the holiday with the Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Ms. Haroski's purpose was to designate a day to show appreciation for her boss and other bosses. She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors. She believed young employees often do not realize the challenges bosses face in running a business. Ms. Haroski chose October 16 because it was her father's birthday, and he also happened to be her boss.
During the early years of National Boss Day observance, the holiday was mocked as Hallmark Holiday. In fact, Hallmark did not offer a Boss's Day card for sale until 1979. Recognition for Boss Day has grown tremendously in popularity and Hallmark responded by increasing the size of its National Boss Day card collection by 90 percent in 2007. National Boss Day has become an international celebration in recent years and now is observed in countries such as Australia and South Africa, in addition to the United States.
Image courtesy of Luz.
It’s the time of year where ghosts, witchesand goblins are making plans for their favorite day of the year, Halloween. Have you let them visit your desk yet?
Halloween isn’t just for children dressed as spooky (or sometimes adorable) creatures, going door-to-door asking for candy; you can have just as much fun at work! This year, bring the spirit of Halloween to the office. Here are some ideas for making your workplace "spooktacular"!
- Decorate your desk or cubicle walls with a row full of smiling pumpkins
- Host a number of spooky Halloween contests: Scariest Costume, Jack-o-Lantern Carving, Pumpkin Seed Spitting, and Best Decorated Desk
- Hide fake giant spiders in your co-workers’ desk drawers
- Ask each of your co-workers "Trick or Treat?" Give those who say "treat" a piece of candy from your Gumball Machine; pull a fun office prank on everyone else
- Place some Bendable Halloween Characters in random places all over the office
- Bring a large bowl of Halloween candy to share or bake a batch of Halloween cookies
- Turn on some funky Halloween music and see how many Jack-O-Bop Wind-Up Toys you can get going at the same time
Adding a little Halloween spirit to your workplace can make your day a little more exciting and everyone a little happier. Try out some of our ideas and let us know how it goes!
Image courtesy of Elvia Dametto.
Do you work with aliens? How would you know if you did? Finally there's help, here's a simple guide to discovering who among your colleagues are from another planet:
Food – Aliens don't eat normal human food. Look for colleagues who you've never seen eating. Offer them a slice of pizza because nobody from this planet would refuse free pizza.
Performance – Aliens are way smarter than humans and so they are typically successful. Look for those in your company who are high up in the organizational chart. Aliens are looking to run things, not be bossed around. For example, Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) are aliens.
Social Skills – Aliens are not very good networkers and never play the role of office clown. Look for the ones who don't talk much and have a very difficult time conducting a conversation. Aliens don't have hobbies, they don’t have "good weekends" and they don't say "TGIF".
Office Romance – Aliens don't mate with humans and thus the aliens in your office won't ever get caught up in office romance. That should eliminate many of your colleagues as potential aliens.
Limited Time – Aliens don't just grind away at the corporate rat race. They are at your business for a specific reason, maybe to run a few experiments you would rather not know the details about. If one of your co-workers just vanishes one day, instead of a new job, they may have just returned to their home planet.
Now that you know who the aliens are at your company, you can begin the process of uncovering the robots. Stay tuned...
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!
Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson.
Toys, such as stress balls, can make your meeting or training event more successful. There are certain variables to consider when you shop for your next batch of meeting stress balls. (See all of our Stress Balls here.)
Distribution – We recommend laying out a variety of stress balls together, maybe in a large bowl, and let the attendees take their pick. The folks who show up early get the best pick and the ones who are late get whatever is left (they won’t be late again).
Top Picks – Here are some of our best Meeting Stress Balls:
Make the best choice for your meeting:
Noise – Some stress balls make noise and that is too distracting for a business meeting or training event. Avoid balls with water or any liquid inside since they’ll make a squishing sound when squeezed. Also, some stress balls actually talk back when squeezed. While that is funny the first couple of times, it doesn’t work when the meeting really gets underway.
Filling – Any stress ball with liquid or gel inside has the potential to break. Our stress balls are strong, we don’t sell weak ones, but sometimes they do fail. You don’t want the contents of a liquid-filled ball or Gel Stress Ball all over the table during a meeting.
During these stressful business times, giving out the right stress balls at your next business meeting, training session or event will yield huge returns.
Founder & CEO
Office Playground, Inc.
Boss Day gift giving can be tough. Right off the bat, you are trying to buy the perfect gift for your Boss and that can be nerve racking. Your boss is the one who will decide or significantly influence your destiny in the company. Thus, don't give him/her a lame gift on Boss's Day. Since we specialize in Office Toys and unique corporate gifts, we felt it was time to provide some help to those seeking the ideal Boss Day Gift.
Buy a physical thing – Not a gift card and not lunch. That stuff is not memorable. Buy them something to display in their workspace. That means they will remember your kindness all day, every day, forever.
Don't be late – Give it to them on Boss's Day and not after Boss's Day. Giving a Boss Day gift says "I really appreciate you and I'm on my game". Giving a Boss Day gift late says "whoops, I blew it". Not giving a Boss Day gift at all is, well, not advisable.
How much to spend – This is the classic question surrounding Boss Day Gifts. The amount you spend is directly proportional to how much you like your boss or how badly you want a promotion. Our research indicates the perfect amount, in most cases, is $20.
Personality Type – Get your Boss a gift that corresponds to their personality type. You'll really score if you match the gift with their true self. Here are some of personality types to get you thinking:
Stressed to the Max!
Outside of work Interests – People tend to have little reminders of stuff they love in their office. Ask yourself "what do they love to do when they are not at work?". Since I love to fish, for instance, I'm a sucker for fish oriented toys on my desk. Here are some ideas:
The Animal Lover
We hope this helps you nail the perfect Boss Day Gift this year. For more ideas, please see our Boss Day Gift Guide Here. We are happy to offer you free Boss Day Gift consulting, just call us at 800-458-1948 or email us.
The Office Toy Guy
We make work fun!
Bad business decisions are something every company tries to avoid, but they happen. Some legendary ones include the makers of M & M's decision to not allow their candy to appear in the movie ET. Reese's Pieces were used instead and the sales exploded. Jerry Yang decided to walk away from Microsoft and missed out on receiving $44.6 billion of Bill Gates' money. Many book editors rejected the Harry Potter book series and Decca Records had the opportunity to sign the Beatles and didn't.
An example of important decision making can be shown through choosing stock investments. The Chicago Sun-Times wanted to illustrate the often chance nature of picking stocks, so they had a monkey sit on newspaper stock pages and make marks on five stocks. As of January 2007, the stock-picking monkey had beaten the market four years running.
If you don't have the resources to hire a monkey, perhaps a fortune-telling item such as the Wall Street Guru Ball, the Mystical Orb, or the time honored Magic 8 Ball may help. The Dartboard Decision Maker is a fun and active alternative.
Next time you're faced with a landmark decision, give the Affirmation Ball a shake; its response might be "Brilliant Idea!" However, the Sarcastic Ball might warn "Not a Chance!" and the Wall Street Guru might suggest "Ride it Out". The Dartboard Decision Maker offers many options. Give it a spin and toss the dart, which might land on "Take a Vacation," "Stay Late," "Call a Meeting," "Hire" or "Retire". A fortune telling ball or decision maker may not offer the appropriate advice, but it's sure to generate some lighthearted stress relief.