Lubbock, TX — Now days there is a national holiday for just about anything. September 16 is National Play-Doh Day. According to Hasbro, Play-Doh’s parent company, the humble toy so many children have grown up with was first created as a wallpaper cleaner. But, when inventor Joe McVicker heard a teacher say traditional modeling clay was too hard for children to manipulate, a new toy took shape.
McVicker shipped some of his dough to a Cincinnati school. A year later, in 1956, the wallpaper cleaner had officially become Play-Doh.
Here are some fun facts from the manufacturer:
1. IT WAS FIRST SOLD AS WALLPAPER CLEANER.
Before kids were playing with Play-Doh, their parents were using it to remove soot and dirt from their wall coverings by simply rolling the wad of goop across the surface.
2. IF IT WEREN’T FOR CAPTAIN KANGAROO, PLAY-DOH MIGHT NEVER HAVE TAKEN OFF.
When it was just a fledgling company with no advertising budget, inventor Joe McVicker talked his way in to visit Bob Keeshan, a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo. Although the company couldn’t pay the show outright, McVicker offered them two percent of Play-Doh sales for featuring the product once a week. Keeshan loved the compound and began featuring it three times weekly.
3. MORE THAN 3 BILLION CANS OF PLAY-DOH HAVE BEEN SOLD.
Since 1956, more than 3 billion cans of Play-Doh have been sold. That’s enough to reach the Moon and back a total of three times.
More than 100 million cans are sold annually.
Seven million Fun Factory playsets have been sold since 1999
4. IT USED TO COME IN JUST ONE COLOR.
Back when it was still a household product, Play-Doh came in just one dud of a color: off-white. When it hit stores as a toy in the 1950s, red, blue, and yellow were added. These days, Play-Doh comes in nearly every color of the rainbow—more than 50 in total—but a consumer poll revealed that fans’ favorite colors are Rose Red, Purple Paradise, Garden Green, and Blue Lagoon.
5. FOR QUITE SOME TIME, DR. TIEN LIU HAD A JOB SKILL NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD COULD CLAIM: PLAY-DOH EXPERT.
Dr. Tien Liu helped perfect the Play-Doh formula for the original company, Rainbow Crafts, and stayed on as a Play-Doh Expert when the modeling compound was purchased by Kenner and then Hasbro.
6. YOU CAN SMELL LIKE PLAY-DOH.
Want to smell like Play-Doh? You can! To commemorate the compound’s 50th anniversary, Demeter Fragrance Library worked with Hasbro to make a Play-Doh fragrance, which was developed for “highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood.”
7. HASBRO TRADEMARKED THE SCENT.
Anyone who has ever popped open a fresh can of Play-Doh knows that there’s something extremely distinctive about the smell. It’s so distinctive that, in early 2017, Hasbro filed for federal protection in order to trademark the scent, which the company describes as “a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.”
8. IT CAN CREATE A PRETTY ACCURATE FINGERPRINT.
When biometric scanners were a bit more primitive, people discovered that you could make a mold of a person’s finger, then squish Play-Doh in the mold to make a replica of the finger that would actually fool fingerprint scanners. Back in 2005, it was estimated that Play-Doh could actually fool 90 percent of all fingerprint scanners. But technology has advanced a lot since then, so don’t go getting any funny ideas. Today’s more sophisticated systems aren’t so easily tricked by the doughy stuff.
9. IT HOLDS A PLACE IN THE NATIONAL TOY HALL OF FAME.
Unsurprisingly, Play-Doh holds a coveted place in the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. It was inducted in 1998. According to the Hall of Fame, “recent estimates say that kids have played with 700 million pounds of Play-Doh.”
10. YOU CAN TURN YOUR PLAY-DOH CREATIONS INTO ANIMATED CHARACTERS.
While Play-Doh may be a classic toy, it got a state-of-the-art upgrade in 2016, when Hasbro launched Touch Shape to Life Studio, an app that lets kids turn their Play-Doh creations into animated characters.