From The Archives: Betty James, Named The Slinky

Morning Remembrance Portraits by Nathan Smith copyright 2011

Betty James, the woman responsible for naming the Slinky, is dead after tumbling down a flight of stairs into a heating grate.

Apparently her momentum caused her body to bounce end-over-end from one step to the next -much to the delight of a girl and a boy.

Her husband, a ship engineer, conceived of the toy in 1943 after watching an iud pop out of Tallulah Bankhead while dedicating a minelayer.

Seventeen years later, the quite mad inventor abandoned the family to join a religious cult dedicated to worshiping those little springs you find in push-button pens.

Though it was developed to be a toy, U.S. soldiers in Vietnam liked to use the Slinky as an antenna. Similarly, the Viet Cong used the commercial jingle to torture John McCain.

During her lifetime, hundreds of millions of plastic Slinkys were sold to children around the world. You can now find them floating in the Gulf of Mexico wrapped around millions of pelicans’ necks.

James requested one end of her elongated body be twisted and then suddenly released in order to demonstrate transverse wave motion.

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