National Rubber Ducky Day January 13, 2023
The rubber ducky, sometimes spelled Duckie, has come a long way from his first concept as a chew toy for children. The origin of the first rubber ducky is unknown, many rubber molded toys came about when rubber manufacturing developed in the late 1800s. They produced a variety of toys from dolls and animal shapes, including the rubber duck.
Here are ten fun facts about the Rubber Duck!
1. In 1928 the first patent for the rubber duck was issued to, Landon Smart Lawrence. His design added weight to the duck, so that if it was tipped, it would go back to its upright position.
2. During World Wars I and II, rubber was a valuable commodity. Rationing became mandatory and by the 1940s with the advent of plastic, the rubber ducky began being produced in vinyl and plastic.
3. Sales of the iconic yellow rubber ducky we’ve come to know today soared in Britain in 2001. Why? A British Tabloid, The Sun, reported Queen Elizabeth II had a rubber duck in her bathroom that wore an inflatable crown.
4. Russian Sculptor Peter Ganine sculpted a duck along with many other animal figures. His duck, he later designed and patented into a floating toy that closely resembles the rubber ducky we have become familiar with today.
5. In the middle of a raging storm in 1992, a cargo ship carrying a huge assortment of vinyl toys tipped over. Descending into the Pacific were nearly 29,000 tub playthings, including untold thousands of rubber ducks. Bobbing and drifting, the tiny yellow birds took weeks, months, and years to wash ashore in Hawaii, Maine, Seattle, and other far-flung locations. Their journeys were able to tell oceanographers crucial information about waves, currents, and seasonal changes—what one journalist dubbed “the conveyor belt” of the sea.
6. By the early 1960s, the vinyl ducks were free from patent restriction and became a bathroom fixture. They were cheaply made, cheaply acquired, and a soothing presence for children with apprehensions about being dipped into water. Any hydrophobia was eased by the bright yellow duck, who didn’t appear to have a care in the world.
7. On February 25, 1970, rubber ducks got their biggest break yet. On the first season of Sesame Street, Ernie splashed in a tub while singing an ode to his maritime companion:
Rubber Duckie, you’re the one You make bath time lots of fun Rubber Duckie, I’m awfully fond of you Rubber Duckie, joy of joys When I squeeze you, you make noise Rubber Duckie, you’re my very best friend, it’s true
The song went on to sell over 1 million copies as a single and has been included in more than 20 different Sesame Street compilation albums. The image of Ernie playing with the duck was licensed for T-shirts, storybooks, and other merchandise that further endeared the ducks to child-occupied households.
8. The duck has since undergone some minor advancements. Some, molded to resemble celebrities or athletes, are a popular gift or marketing tool; others are sculpted to giant-sized proportions to bob in lakes during summer festivals. And while the toys now come in $25, Bluetooth-enabled versions, it was the classic yellow duck that made it in 2013 into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
the Hall of Fame has only inducted 52 other toys.
9. According to Guinness World Records, American Charlotte Lee owns the world’s largest collection of rubber ducks. In 2011, her collection included 5,631 rubber ducks.
10.Mama Duck is the world’s largest inflatable rubber duck. At six stories tall and weighing 30,000 pounds, the big yellow duck makes quite a splash. Owned by Big Duck LLC, Mama Duck and her baby duck travel to waterfront festivals across the country.
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