The slinky toy

by James K. Sayre

The slinky toy was an elegant invention; it was a long tightly-wound spring, about two and a half or three inches in diameter and about eight inches high, of copper wire that had been would into a few hundred evenly-sized coils. When given a small push, it would fall over and then go neatly down a flight of stairs, end over end. One could also take hold of both ends and sort of juggle it from end to end. It made a sort of metallic (naturally) hissing sound when it moved.

I guess that kids like it, because it seemed to be almost alive. Older kids and adults could speculate and think about the laws of physics behind its motions.

I don't remember how we came to have one, whether it was a Christmas present or a birthday present or whether it just showed up one day. Fortunately, we had a nice long staircase for it to "climb" down...



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