Don’t Be Silly, Putty: A Lesson in Necessity

Who would think a well-loved children’s toy such as Silly Putty was originally created as a wartime emergency substance? It’s true: faced with a rubber shortage during World War II, the U.S. government asked scientists to come up with an alternative, according to “In a GE lab, engineer James Wright attempted to create an alternative by mixing boric acid with silicone oil. He was so pleased with the end result that he threw some of the substance on the floor and it bounced.” He conducted numerous tests on this intriguing material and found it “could stretch farther than regular rubber, didn’t collect mold, and had a very high melting temperature. GE sent the new substance to engineers all over the world to try to find a practical use for it. “In 1949, the new creation caught the attention of toy store owner Ruth Fallgatter, who contracted a marketer named Peter Hodgson. Hodgson purchased a large amount of the rubber, packaged it into plastic eggs, and sold it to children under the name ‘Silly Putty.’ Today, Silly Putty brand products are offered in over 15 different colors in the classic egg-shaped packaging.” This is somewhat akin to how Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a crucial component in Impact Absorbents’ protective suits and gloves. Sometimes the most useful products arise in unusual ways. It’s how Impact Absorbents began 23 years ago, creating XSORB in our family’s garage. We’ve come very far since 1992, and are grateful to have had the opportunity to help so many other businesses grow safely, with environmentally friendly spill clean up and spill containment solutions that handle hundred of different spill and safety needs daily. And while the products Impact Absorbents creates and markets have a highly practical use, developing these sorbents for you has been and continues to be so much fun, it does feel like child’s play.

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