Talk:Slinky

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Former good article nominee Slinky was a Sports and recreation good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
February 26, 2009 Good article nominee Not listed
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Untitled comments[edit]

Fixed the plural of antenna: insects have antennae, whereas radio amateurs have antennas.--130.232.120.145 18:18, 29 May 2006 (UTC)


I recently read (I believe in a CNN story about toys, but the exact source escapes me) that in order to protect the process of making the metal spiral, no reporters or photographers have ever been allowed inside the plant which produces "slinky branded toys"  ;) Terry

"Slinkys" or "Slinkies"?? -- John Owens 22:44 Apr 23, 2003 (UTC)

I wrote "Slinkys" because the word "Slinky" is a trademark, a proper noun. I suppose if I did that, though, I should have capitalized it in every instance. I will do that now. Thanks. -- Liesel Hess 17:58 Apr 24, 2003

The official website at http://www.slinkytoys.com/ seems to just avoid using a plural by referring to "Slinky® Toys". The fan site at http://www.slinky.org/ uses both "Slinkys" and (shudder) "Slinky's" for plural. So I think "Slinkys" would be the safe bet, yes, without going to the extreme of putting an extra noun in there. -- John Owens
Actually trademarks are adjectives, not nouns, hence it is incorrect to refer to "Slinkys" (or Band-Aids, or Cadillacs or whatever. You should, technically, refer to "Slinky brand toys" (or Band-Aid brand sticking plasters, or Cadillac brand cars...) but this is of course ridiculously pedantic and nobody actually does it except trademark lawyers...
I think it's just common practice and advice for trademark holders to declare their trademarks as adjectives, not a requirement of the law. The law (in the US, at least) describes a trademark as any name, word, etc., used by a person to identify his or her goods from those manufactured or sold by others. Adjectives are less at risk of genericide, so they're what's usually registered, but nouns can be trademarks too as far as I can tell. More relevantly, my understanding is that actual usage is what should prevail on WP, not pedantry pushed unsuccessfully by trademark lawyers. --Dan Wylie-Sears 2 (talk) 21:46, 8 January 2013 (UTC)
But it's correct, so I like it. I looked in some of the other articles about items with brand names, and the general trend is to follow the pattern we've been using in this one. Even still, what's popular is not always what's right. Liesel Hess 11:34 Sep 22, 2005

Does it really matter? It's a slinky, call it what you want to Ootmc 23:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Springs or Rings?[edit]

I have heard that the slinky came about in an automotative creative manufacturing plant, where they were making piston rings. The story I heard (and it makes sense) is that a vey precise steel tube is sliced into a spira, and then down the longitudianl axis. This results in a multitude of identical rings, open on one end, which can be fitted into the grooves on a piston.

This is entirely apocraphyl. I've never seen it confirmed anywhere, and the torsion spring story seems to prevail. However, torsion springs don't resemble slinkys nearly as much as piston rings.

3/25/05 OK, I found the source of the confusion. The fellow who "invented" the slinky was using a set of "partially formed" piston rings for a different purpose on a Navy ship. Here is a link to a site which explains the background.

(08/26/10 broken link at end of above paragraph, changed to text; double http was original but fixed still no such article - perhaps valid if you are a subscriber and can go to archives?) http://http://www.postbulletin.com/magazine/2004/08/index.shtml (end 08/26/10)

9/22/05 I had read that he was observing a torsion spring, and that is what I initially wrote in the article. That it has been changed to "tension spring" seems to indicate that someone hadn't heard of torsions and thought they'd make an edit. I'm going to have to change that back.

On the other hand, I heard that this toy derives from a paper tube formerly used in aircraft to deliver air within the cabin. To keep the tube round, paper was is glued to a spring about the diameter of a Slinky. (Nowadays plastic is used instead of paper.) I have seen these things, and contrary to the source listed, there wouldn't seem to be any purpose for a spring as weak as that of a Slinky in mechanical engineering. --Sobolewski 17:17, 22 October 2005 (UTC)


Years ago, I had heard the Slinky came about during WWII Jeep manufacture; that it was actually a roll of uncut piston rings. I can't verify that but it seems quite likely. Ahff71 (talk) 22:33, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

"Traespiral"?[edit]

Is that an English word? It's certainly not Swedish. And google only finds it in other instances of the line about slinkys, not anywhere else. The only thing that soulds anything like it would be Danish "træspiral" meaning "wooden spiral". Also "slinky" does not really mean anything in Swedish, the closest to this is the verb "slinka", which means to sneak or slip by.

"Traespiral" may not be a Swedish word, but "slinky" is very definitely an English one (appearing in print in 1918), and can trace its roots in English back to the 14th century (Old English slincan, to creep.) I took that part out, but I'd like to see it back in if it can be supported better. Dyfsunctional 20:13, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
The word "Slinky" has nothing to do with Swedish or Danish languages. The confusion may have arisen due to the fact that the spring steel wire stock used in the original toy in the 1940s came from Sweden. —QuicksilverT @ 18:47, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Origins[edit]

However, more time should have been spent on researching how to better a Slinky's means of travel. Research has shown that a child's excitment is quickly lost when they are not able to get their Slinky to walk down a flight of stairs as portrayed in comercials. Due to this shortcoming, studies have shown that children are more apt to stretch their Slinky out of shape thus causing the Slinky to no longer work as invented.

This sections starts out POV, then goes for a double weasel: "research has shown" and "studies have shown," with no cite whatsoever. I suspect someone just made this up, so I'm deleting it. Dyfsunctional 20:13, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Vandalism[edit]

A user named Slinky seems to have been vandalising this page recently with edits about a rapper of the same name. I reverted it and I'll keep and eye out for future mischief. Robert 20:29, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Alternative Uses: Antennas.[edit]

Is it really necessary to say ". . . even used them as transmitting antennas"? All antennas are capable of being used for transmitting and receiving when used with an appropriate transceiver. In other words, the sentence implies there is something special about being a transmit antenna when in fact there is nothing inherently special about it.

Also, ". . . slinkeys were also used as mobile radio transmitters" is technically incorrect. They may have been used in conjunction with transmitters (ie as antenna for radio transmission) but they themselves are not transmitters.

Comments? Antennas that cannot take a power input are referred to as "receiving antennas." They either have an amplifier at the antenna before the transmission line, or are made of fine wires that would fuse with even low transmitting power. You're right, the distinction is sometimes semantic. --AD8Y —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dkazdan (talkcontribs) 01:34, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

66.87.80.195 22:57, 28 June 2007 (UTC)cwoliver

As a fad?[edit]

Was there a fad around the Slinky some time in the late 1970s or early 1980s, like what happened to Rubrik's cube and happens to the yo-yo once in a while? If so, there's a "1980s fads" (1970s?) category suitable for this article.

I recently found the Slinky my dad bought – but I can't remember for sure if all other kids got one at about the same time. JöG 18:47, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

EH?![edit]

"Richard James, a US $50,000-a-week marine engineer // With a US$500 loan, the couple ran tests"

Is this right? I find this highly odd-usual someone what makes 50,000 a week would take a loan for 1/100 of that amount. Is it either whack editing or this dude took loans out to buy penny sweeties. Either way there is a freak of nature on this page. (I am not a freak of any sort)Supersonicjim 10:09, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Trivia: Gedig[edit]

Who is Gedig? I don't see the relevance of the story, and I doubt its veracity. Beer usually doesn't contain enough alcohol to burn.

129.13.186.1 (talk) 08:45, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Skinkies are a hazard to all people and especially children. They can fall on someone's toe and hurt them .

I say get tough. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.96.46.222 (talk) 18:50, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Slinky length?[edit]

Is there any information pertaining to the actual length of the stretched-out coil of an original Slinky? That's what I was looking for on this page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.45.123.11 (talkcontribs) 19:13, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

The Poof-Slinky, Inc. site gives the length of wire stock used in the Slinky® as 63 feet. Some sources hint that the original product used 80 feet of wire. If one were to stretch out a Slinky coil, it would no longer work as a "Slinky" and wouldn't provide the length of wire used in making it; I think the term you seek is "unwound coil". —QuicksilverT @ 18:43, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Slinky/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.
GA review (see here for criteria)

This is a decent article, but it still has some shortcomings with respect to the good article criteria.

  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS):
    I have already fixed some MoS issues myself, you can check those; some comments on others below.
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    About.com is not considered a WP:RS, and needs to be replaced.
    Deleted. ItsLassieTime (talk) 22:42, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    See comments below.
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    Doubts on two of the three, comments below.
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:

Some comments, in no particular order: * I don't think the "®" mark in the lead is necessary or appropriate. We don't use it in other game or toy articles such as Monopoly (game), Barbie, etc.

Done. Removed. ItsLassieTime (talk) 18:38, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

* The lead section should probably be two paragraphs, not one. It needs to summarize a couple of other aspects from the article, such as the continued affordability and the 300 million sales figure.

Done. Expanded lead as recommended and plan to continue. ItsLassieTime (talk)
  • Why does the caption of the first image say "Metal Slinky"? Is there any other kind of Slinky?
I believe there are plastic Slinkys. Will investigate. ItsLassieTime (talk)

* I'm not sure the fair use rationale on File:Betty James 2001 NY Times.jpg is valid. It's a copyrighted photograph of J.D. Cavrich/The Altoona Mirror, via Associated Press, that's very recent (2001). Most "contemporary press photos" are ruled out by Wikipedia:Non-free content#Images 2 item #6. I don't think the fact that the person has died since 2001 changes this. Are you sure this image would survive WP:IfD?

I'm uncertain about this. Removed. ItsLassieTime (talk) 18:57, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure the fair use rationale on File:Slinky ad 1946.jpg is valid. (I'm not trying to be difficult, I know just like all of us that finding valid images for WP is a bitch!) I'm not sure whether the copyright for an ad like this belongs to the Slinky manufacturer or to Popular Science ... I'm less sure on this one than the prior, will have to look around to see if similar examples are on WP.
It was published in a public domain period, I believe. I'm uncertain on this. ItsLassieTime (talk) 18:57, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I was originally going to put this on hold, but the more I look at it, the coverage of the article's subject is far from complete, and the GAN was premature. For example, all of the following sources could be used:

  • this 1957 NYT story, by Gay Talese, that gives a sales figure up to then (14 million) and discusses how it became a success despite its abstractness
  • A discussion is needed of why Slinky was successful from a design point of view, perhaps as described in the 2005 book Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design (see this review here), and as described in an art show covered here

* A discussion is needed of Slinky's cultural resonance. It's been frequently used as a metaphor, such as in this theatre review or this troupe review or this mime review or this description of an intellectual.


And these are just some of the useful cites from one source, The New York Times. Other newspapers or magazines will have more, books will have more (use Google books as a search vehicle, then hit the library as necessary). There are other missing aspects of Slinky that I noticed, such as kids would juggle with it, there was a rainbow colored one, and sometimes they just wouldn't do what they were supposed to. The Talk page also has some items that could be followed up upon, such as what is a normal Slinky's overall length, and exactly how did/does the manufacturing process work. Are they still made in the U.S., or has production moved overseas? And so on.

So in sum, I still think a lot more research and writing needs to go into this article. (I think the nominator knows the GAN was premature too, since the article has been expanding in the time since then.) This will take longer than the normal one-week GA hold, and research/writing shouldn't be done under pressure in the first place (this is supposed to be fun!), so I'm failing the GA for now, with encouragement to re-submit it down the road when the treatment is more comprehensive. Wasted Time R (talk) 14:32, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Explanation of "Laser" sound-effect[edit]

I did some "back of the envelope" calculations to test whether the explanation given for the sound a Slinky makes is plausible. The length of the coil in a Slinky is about 20 meters and the speed of sound in steel is about 6000 meters per second. (This does not include the spring vibrations which are at too low a frequency to be heard.) When you work it out you find it takes 1/300 of a second for the sound to travel from one end of the Slinky to the other. Even if the sound did travel at different speeds depending on the frequency, the difference between the travel times would be much less than 1/300 of a second. Any sound with that short a duration would be perceived as a simple click, and the 'laser' sound is at least a few tenths of a second in duration. It seems to me that what you are actually hearing are standing waves in the metal which, for whatever reason, decay faster at high frequencies. In any case, the explanation in the article needs to backed up with better evidence.--RDBury (talk) 20:22, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Inventor: army or navy engineer?[edit]

In an attempt to undo some recent vandalism on the Slinky article, I inadvertently undid an unrelated edit by another editor (see User talk:Mason Bowering for details). Although I do believe this was a good-faith edit, I find myself doubting the edit's accuracy, which is why I'm posting to this talk page.

Specifically, the Slinky article now states that its inventor, Richard James, was an army engineer. Before the edit, it stated that he was a naval engineer. This makes it inconsistent with not only the Wikipedia article on Mr. James, but also the [Slinky manufacturer's website]. I have already suggested to User:Mason Bowering that he also modify the Richard James article to make it consistent with the Slinky article, but I am now reconsidering that.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Can anyone independently verify in which branch of the service Mr. James served?

Bgpaulus (talk) 19:55, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

All the referenced books say he was a naval engineer. I also added a reference from a college textbook's bio.
On another note, many facts in the biography seem to be wrong. Specifically, I cannot find authoritative information on the following people and their involvement with Slinky's invention:
  • Coleman Barber, Dylan Gedig - These names come from a Slinky caption placard from an exhibit at NYC Museum of Modern Art. See [1].
  • Clay Watson - I removed from the article; I can't verify the source
I will have to crack open a book (remember those?) the next time I go to the library to fact-check this article.Brownsteve (talk) 04:13, 28 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Brownsteve. In the tying-up-loose-ends department, I've finally circled back around and corrected this little discrepancy; the article now states that Richard James was a Naval engineer. Cheers! -- Bgpaulus (talk) 16:07, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

Ondomania?[edit]

It seems like to a number of countries (or regions) this toy was known as 'Ondamania'. Anybody heard that name? http://www.google.kz/images?um=1&hl=ru&tbs=isch:1&ei=qMzuS-WaEILDsAa7xfSaBQ&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=ondamania&spell=1 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ilya-42 (talkcontribs) 16:33, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I took a few minutes to Google the word "ondomania" and found about 800 references on what appear to be French-language sites (like this and this). My best guess is that "slinky" didn't translate very well into French, so "ondomania" was substituted. Of course, my knowledge of la langue Français is très atroces, so we'd need a francophone to take a look and let us know if my guess is right or not. If you can find something in English about it, then please feel free to update the article. Cheers! -- Bgpaulus (talk) 22:58, 17 June 2010 (UTC)
I am French.… « Ondomania » has been a name given in the 80s for a time to Slinky for a question of trademark. Forget it. But I will update the article--Jean-Louis Swiners (talk) 16:09, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Does the Slinky work anymore ?[edit]

I am writing the story of the Slinky on my web site devoted to accidental discoveries ( made by serendipity) :

http://www.serendipite-strategique.com/exemples/slinky.html

To be complete, I have buy the best Slinky I could find (©2006 Poof-Slinky, Plymouth) and I test it. IT DON'T WALK, IT DON'T GO DOWNSTAIRS.

I have been, to have a look, on Amazon. The customer reviews confirm it.

My model is 5,5 cm x diam. 6,8 cm

The model which was (or is always) exposed in the MOMA was given as 2 3/8 x diam. 2 7/8 i.e. 6 cm x diam. 7,3 cm.

Have some of you tested it recentely ?

Can we write in the article that the Slinky sold to-day by Amazon and I think Toys R' Us don't work anymore ?--Jean-Louis Swiners (talk) 16:37, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia requires a reliable source for any statement it makes, and neither Amazon user reviews nor editors' personal observations are reliable sources. If the 2006 redesign of the Slinky genuinely stopped it from functioning as designed, I'd imagine that we'd be able to find some coverage in newspaper articles, magazine reviews or the toy industry press. From a skim of Google News, though, I can't find anything. --McGeddon (talk) 08:30, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Dear McGeddon,
I confirm my point of view. I have seen the issue with the french distributor (Buki France). He admits that the quality of the steel is not so good than before and told me he has discontinued importation, selling only the Slinkies he has in stock.
He give me a trick. Extend it before use. I have done it, to maximum. The Slinky works a little bit better. but with no comparison with the real emblematic Slinky. See :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIu0sQIUQHs
Buki France and myself we have mailed to Poof-Slinky USA. No answer.
Could you see the problem, so I can include some conclusions in the french Wikipédia ? I thank you very much in advance --Jean-Louis Swiners (talk) 03:30, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Private correspondence with somebody at a French distributor is not a reliable source either. Wikipedia can only claim that "Slinkies don't work", "Buki France has discontinued importation" or "modern Slinkies work better if you stretch them" if we have a reliable, published source that states this. --McGeddon (talk) 07:58, 8 June 2013 (UTC)
Dear McGeddon, I understand very well.
Nevermind, It seems it is only a french problem. In France, Amazon sells the NO. 100 © 2011 Poof-Slinky. I have buy one and have tested it. IT WORKS. The model sold by Buki I tested is a N° 101 ©2006. IT DON'T WORK. It is our problem. Thanks for your attention. --Jean-Louis Swiners (talk) 08:27, 11 June 2013 (UTC)