Friday, Jul 06, 2012
by Ned Wazowski
Slip 'n Slide, 1961
Nothing says “summer” like a trip down the Slip ‘n Slide.
You need a running start to get the best slide – at least six steps and then a loud whoop as you hit the plastic. After that, just hope it doesn’t end right at the driveway.
For most of us growing up, summer meant Slip ‘n’ Slides. With just that thin yellow plastic and a garden hose, your backyard was transformed into a water park (though after an entire day, it looked more like a muddy swamp). Today we salute the humble Slip ‘n Slide, without which kids everywhere would be forever begging their parents for a pool.
The Slip ‘n Slide was developed by Robert Carrier to discourage his son from spraying the family’s smooth driveway with water and trying to slide across it. That first model was made of Naugahyde and had a tube sewed down one side of it. Carrier punched holes in the tube and attached it to the hose to continuously spray down the surface. It was, of course, a big hit with his son and his friends.
Carrier sold his design to Wham-O (Frisbees, Hula Hoops, Superballs!), and the first year alone the company sold three million Slip ‘n Slides.
The design basically hasn’t changed since 1961 (though Wham-O has always used plastic, rather than Naugahyde). Today, however, there are plenty more “extras” available now: water fall arches, side bumpers, splash down pools.
Since it premiered, Wham-O has sold over 30 million slides, proving that the Slip ‘n Slide gets better with age. The warnings on the package tell us, however, that an adult body – with its usual aches and pains – will not fare so well. So maybe leave the sliding to the kids.
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