play-dohWe all played with it as kids, and if memory serves, it didn’t taste too bad at all, so today we reminisce and celebrate


Officially called a “modeling compound,” Play-Doh was the invention of Noah McVicker while working for the Cincinnati-based soap manufacturer Kutol Products.

Originally developed in 1956 as a compound to (!) remove coal residue from wallpaper, the addition of salt by chemist Dr. Tien Liu allowed the clay-like substance to dry without losing its color, and gave it that funky taste that little kids love.

As a child’s modeling toy, Play-Doh became such a marketing sensation that the Kutol company was purchased by Rainbow Crafts and was soon a household name in households with small children. It was never ideal for intricate sculpture, but perfect for your average peewee with more imagination than artistic talent.

Play-Doh stayed soft and malleable if you stored it in its little cans, so a child could use it over and over again, either mashing it up by hand or squeezing it into the little flower-shaped molds that were sold separately. Its distinctive smell and vibrant colors are fondly remembered, even if no one ever made anything worthwhile with the stuff.

•Suggested Activities: Making lumpy little mounds and calling them puppies.

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