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The History of Rubber Duckies

The rubber duckie first appeared in the late 1800s, shortly after Charles Goodyear invented vulcanized rubber. Surprisingly, the first rubber duckies didn’t float. In fact, they were solid, heavy, and intended as chew toys. Then in the 1930s, two separate rubber duckie bath toys were created, and the association between rubber duckies and bath time was born. In 1931, Eleanor Shannahan of Maryland invented a rubber duckie that could emit jets of water from small holes. Then in 1938, Disney collaborated with Seiberling Latex Products to create a line of “bath floater” toys, the most popular of which were Donald and Donna Duck (as a side note, Donna was later renamed Daisy Duck in 1940). Then in 1947, sculptor Peter Ganine patented a duck toy made out of vinyl. It was painted bright yellow and included a squeaker. The toys were reproduced and sold across the world. Finally, in 1970, Ernie sang the now-famous song, “Rubber Duckie,” on Sesame Street, which made it all the way to number 11 on the Billboard Charts in 1971. It solidified rubber duckies as a bath-time favorite for children around the world. Today, rubber duckies exist in every color, size, and design imaginable. Some are even considered collectibles!

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