Springs in Toys Bring Joy

The holidays are over and of course that means your kids probably got some of the coolest toys.

As discussed in our previous blog posts, springs can be anywhere. But what you may not have known is springs are used extensively in the toy industry, also. Just take a look at some of the toys your kids received this holiday season. The spring could be the element of surprise that’s causing your child to enjoy the new toy so much.

In fact, spring-loaded toys have a rather interesting history, with springs being used in children’s toys as far back as the 1500’s. The excitement in children to play with a toy that recoils rapidly or bounces backwards and forwards still remains a main player in the most successful toys available today.

The Use of Springs in Toys

The Iconic Slinky®

The Slinky was invented in 1943, when a naval engineer, Richard James, was attempting to use tension springs to solve a common problem when working at sea.

The Slinky was accidentally created when one of the tension springs fell to the floor from Mr. James’ desk. He then watched as the spring did an unexpected thing. Instead of just falling to the floor – the spring ‘rolled’ downwards and landed on the ground the right way up – which led to the birth of the Slinky.

To this day, the Slinky has stood the test of time mostly because of its simplicity. It’s a fact that the slinky is one of the most popular spring-based devices in the world. The toy has even earned the title, ‘National Toy of the United States’ and has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Slinky® invented by Richard James in the early 1940s

Pull-Back Toys

Thanks to Newton’s Third Law of Motion that signifies every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, a spring unwinds approximately fifteen times faster than the time it took to be wound. This is the source for how a pullback toy operates, such as a toy car traveling 10 feet forwards after being pulled back only a couple of inches. This happens because energy is stowed quickly during the pullback, but then is released during the forward motion.

Jack in the Box

Before video games were invented, children entertained themselves with a popular toy that also dates back to the 16th century – Jack in the box – which has a spring that is pushed down inside a box, held by a catch on the lid. As the catch is released, the power of the spring allows the lid to burst open, and out pops up a clown.

Pinball Machine

The pinball machine has been around for decades sending a ball flying around a playfield due to the pulled back and released springs. As the object is to win the game by getting the ball in the hole and avoid the game’s obstacles, players can choose from a number of springs, ranging in strength, to create the perfect amount of tension to score the goal.

Toy Cash Register

Toy cash registers give children that amazing feeling of owning their own money – and coiled springs are the cause of that excitement when the cash register opens!

Two springs are essential to ensure the toy cash register opens. The coiled spring, located inside the base of the toy fits perpendicular to the central drawer, and the helical spring, which stores the energy to be released when the player decides to open the register.

Other toys that consist of springs are the much-loved rocking horse, toy car launchers, and trampolines.

All these amazing uses of springs prove how versatile they are.

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