EDITOR'S COMMENT: Accidental genius

Billy Langsworthy

By Billy Langsworthy

July 16th 2015 at 12:30PM
EDITOR'S COMMENT: Accidental genius

Billy Langsworthy looks at how our poll of the top inventors' inventors showcases the weird and wonderful beginnings for some of the industry's greatest toys.

As you might have seen, we recently carried out a poll to find the inventors' inventor.

The survey of 2,000 budding British toy designers saw Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of The LEGO Group, named as the toy inventors’ inventor.

Now aside from some claims that Hilary Page should be credited instead (he created the predecessor to the LEGO bricks, the Self-locking Bricks, and it seems that he is yet to properly get the credit he deserves - something we hope to change in a future Bulletin), the poll has been well recieved.

It's interesting though to note how many people on the list came to their iconic creations purely by accident.

Richard James created Slinky while he was working with tension springs. He accidentally dropped one and upon seeing how the spring kept moving after it hit the ground, Slinky was born.

Walter Frederick Morrison discovered a market for the frisbee in 1938 when he and future wife, Lucile, were offered 25 cents for a cake pan that they were tossing back and forth on a Californian beach.

Others gave birth to iconic toys to solve problems.

Ruth Handler invented Barbie after watching her daughter Barbara struggle to dress and play with her paper dolls.

Wim Ouboter created the Micro Scooter because his favourite sausage shop in Zurich was too far away to walk, yet not far away enough to take the car out of the garage.

My own personal favourite is Eddy Goldfarb, whose original design for the now iconic Chattery Teeth was inspired by his mother-in-law.