If you are looking for an opportunity to awaken your inner child and get the creative juices flowing, pop open a can of Play-Doh on September 16 in celebration of National Play-Doh Day! The colors, the feel, and even the smell are guaranteed to bring back happy memories and brighten your day.
Play-Doh is a simple substance but it has a complex past. In the 1930’s Kutol Products developed and sold the nontoxic, pliable, reusable compound to cleaning coal soot and other dirt from wallpaper. As years passed, however, clean gas and electric heat took over and wallpaper became washable, so the need for the product declined.
Luckily, in the 1950s Kutol learned that school children liked using the soft cleaning substance more than clay as a modeling toy. By the mid-1950s every school kid in Cincinnati was playing with the product.
In 1956, the owners of Kutol created the Rainbow Crafts Company. They rebranded their cleaning product as Play-Doh and began selling it through top retail stores in America. In 1957, popular kids TV shows like Captain Kangaroo and Romper Room began endorsing Play-Doh and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the years, ownership of Play-Doh has changed hands from the Rainbow Crafts Company, to General Mills, to the Tonka Corporation, to its current home at Hasbro. Today Hasbro produces about 95 million cans a year and it is sold in 75 countries worldwide.
Without a doubt, Play-Doh has reached iconic toy status. Over 2 billion cans have been sold since its inception and it has received numerous accolades. In 1998, Play-Doh was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame and in 2003 it was placed on the “Century of Toys List” (the 100 most memorable and creative toys of the twentieth century) by the Toy Industry Association.
Play-Doh has also been a source of inspiration beyond kindergarten walls. For its 50th anniversary, Demeter Fragrance Library, created a limited-editions Play-Doh fragrance to remind creative people of their childhood. ArtistJeff Koons was inspired by his sons Play-Doh sculpture to create one of the most complex sculptures he has ever made, requiring two decades to fabricate. And Hasbro and 20th Century Fox have made a deal to create a Play-Doh movie (watch out Lego!).
So whether you want to reminisce the good-old days of childhood or be inspired to create something great, crack open a new can of Play-Doh on National Play-Doh day and have some fun!