From Wallpaper Cleaner to Children’s Icon: The Remarkable Journey of Play-Doh


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CINCINNATI, OH – Celebrating National Play-Doh Day this September 16th isn’t just about honoring a popular children’s toy; it’s a testament to reinvention. Before captivating the imagination of countless children, Play-Doh was sold as a mere wallpaper cleaner.

It was Cincinnati’s Joe McVicker who saw potential beyond cleaning wallpapers. After a downturn in sales due to the shift from coal to oil furnaces, McVicker tested the product as a modeling clay in educational settings by 1955. Recognizing its potential, he christened it “Play-Doh” and established the Rainbow Crafts Company with his uncle. Initially available only in white, it soon embraced vibrant hues like red, blue, and yellow, initially sold by the gallon and later in 11-ounce sizes.

However, the real boost in Play-Doh’s popularity came unexpectedly. McVicker collaborated with the children’s show, “Captain Kangaroo.” With Bob Keeshan, playing Captain Kangaroo, endorsing Play-Doh, sales soared. Recognizing its cultural impact, the Toy Hall of Fame welcomed Play-Doh into its ranks in 1998.

Hasbro, the toy giant, has commemorated National Play-Doh Day since 2006. As celebrations take place, it’s a reminder that this modeling clay, while not edible, has a place in the heart of children and adults alike.


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