Who Invented Slime? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Hey, do you know the slime you sometimes see in kids’ shows? It’s usually the slime they absolutely love pouring on top of the contestants, though that also originated from the slime that’s usually sold in toy stores. Have you ever wondered who might have invented that kind of slime? I know it’s a stretch, but even something like novelty slime has a pretty interesting story if you’re willing to dig deep.

I know it’s a little strange to think about where the idea of slime was invented, but it’s always fun to learn new things — especially with regards to novelty toys like slime! It might be a little unorthodox, but how about we look into the invention of slime, as well as its overall timeline?

Who invented slime?

If we’re talking about the toy (and we most definitely are), that credit belongs to Mattel Toys. They were the first to consider slime as a potential novelty toy, and they were right.

Slime’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Hermann Staudinger
    Laid the groundwork for polymer science

    It might seem odd that we’re talking about toy slime yet jumping straight into polymer science, but that’s where it gets its start. Without the groundwork developed by Hermann Staudinger, it wouldn’t have been possible to develop slime as a novelty toy.

  • Herman Mark
    A pioneer in the study of polymers

    Herman Mark took the findings of Hermann Staudinger, to the point where he added the teaching of polymer chemistry into his school’s curriculum. He eventually established the Polymer Research Institute in 1946.

  • James Wright
    Mixed boric acid and silicone oil to create the all-too-familiar silly putty

    While James Wright wasn’t the one who introduced silly putty to the world, he was certainly the one that made it possible when he mixed boric acid and silicone oil together.

  • Peter Hodgson
    Introduced silly putty to the world

    Eventually Peter Hodgson would introduce silly putty to the public. It would be some time later when Crayola would go for exclusive manufacturing rights.

  • Mattel Toys
    Manufacturers of slime

    Mattel Toys introduced slime to the world in 1976. It was a smash hit, and succeeded as a creative and novel toy despite the odd premise.

When was slime invented?

Slime was invented by Mattel Toys in 1976.

A brief history of slime

Isn’t it odd that we’re talking about the history of slime, something that got its start as a novel and creative toy, and is still pretty much the same way in the modern era. To talk about slime is to talk about polymer synthetics, and the science behind it. Fortunately, we won’t get into too many specifics — only the people that made such a thing possible. First and foremost we have Herman Staudinger to thank, as he laid the groundwork when it comes to the science of polymer synthetics. Eventually, his study was picked up by another Herman, Herman Mark, who took his work and turned it into a study of chemistry. It eventually led to the Polymer Research Institute around the 1940s.

It was this research in polymer science that led to the beginning of the slime invention, though that would come after the arrival of silly putty. James Wright thought to mix boric acid with silicone oil and ended up with a material that would become silly putty. Peter Hodgson would eventually introduce the idea to the rest of the world, enough so that Crayola was interested in exclusive manufacturing rights. There was even a glow-in-the-dark silly putty!

That said, eventually Mattel Toys came up with an evolution of the silly putty, and one that was far more effective overall. They wanted the oozing substance to be as gross and as fun as possible, and they succeeded. Slime continues to be a popular toy to this day, which is both amazing and, honestly, baffling.

The slime timeline

  1. 1920s
    Hermann Staudinger laid the groundwork for polymer science

    Without the studies and foundation laid by Hermann Staudinger, it would have been nearly impossible to continue polymer science to such a point where slime was released in the 70s.

  2. 1946
    The creation of the Polymer Research Institute

    While Herman Mark has been hard at work in the field of polymer science for years at this point, it was in 1946 when he built the Polymer Research Institute.

  3. 1943 to 1950
    The creation and introduction of silly putty

    While James Wright wasn’t the one who introduced silly putty to the world, he was certainly the one that made it possible when he mixed boric acid and silicone oil together. Peter Hodgson would eventually show it off to the public.

  4. 1976
    The invention and introduction of slime

    In 1976, Mattel Toys shocked the world (kind of) with the introduction of slime, a novelty toy that kids absolutely adored. It was gross, it was icky, it was a non-Newtonian fluid. What more did the kids need?

Where was slime invented?

Slime was invented by Mattel Toys, situated in El Segundo, California.

Why everyone loves slime

  • A surprising hit

    It’s so strange, but a lot of kids loved slime when it was first introduced in the 70s as a toy. Who knew that something so slimy would make for such a fun toy? It certainly kept kids busy for hours, making it a surprising hit overall.

  • The product of an advanced field of science

    You would think that the history of slime was only about trying to make the grossest thing possible, but you’d be wrong! It includes polymer science, and the creation of silly putty through the combination of various materials.

  • Even adults tend to enjoy slime

    There’s no denying that slime was made for kids. It’d be extremely strange to design slime for adults, when it seems like such a juvenile thing to enjoy. However, even adults are fascinated with slime every now and then. They’re more likely to mess around with slime than they are with other toys!

  • A science of slime

    One of the reasons why kids tend to enjoy slime so much is due to all of the toys that allow them to create their own batch of slime. It’s a surprising amount of fun, and it undoubtedly takes advantage of the innate curiosity present in kids.

Slime by the numbers

  • 6There’s a Guinness record out there for the largest slime ever made in the world. The thing weighs a total of 6 tons, and it was made by a 12-year-old girl!
  • 2017Google names this particular year, the year of slime, as it just happened to be the trendiest search of 2017. How did that happen you might ask? Maybe it’s due to all of the game shows using slime, as well as the perfect storm of novelty slime products and memes. Overall it’s quite a lot of fun that slime of all things became the trendiest question in 2017.
  • 1984The year the movie Ghostbusters was released in cinemas. The reason why we mention that film at all is due to all of the fun, novel toys that popped out using slime thanks to Ghostbusters. There were even board games popping out that had slime as the ghosts!
  • 7.4While you now know the heaviest, largest slime in the world, there’s also the stretchiest slime in the world to consider! A 10-year-old managed to stretch about 7 feet 4 inches of slime in 30 seconds, earning the top spot in the slime echelons.

Five facts about slime

  • Slime has a habit of destressing individuals

    One of the reasons why even adults have a fascination with slime is how it acts as a stress toy. There’s something cathartic about squeezing slime, making it particularly popular due to its destressing capabilities.

  • You can clean with slime

    While it’s not necessarily the primary purpose of slime, it can be surprisingly useful when it comes to cleaning dust and lint.

  • Slime will never go bad

    Due to its makeup and the wonders of polymer science, slime will never actually go bad. You can place it in airtight packaging for the best results, but you’ll never have to worry about it going bad!

  • A means of warding off predators

    One of the interesting things about slime in general is how it can be produced naturally by some animals to ward off predators. It’s even used by Hagfish, which lets out slime that could potentially choke the predator.

  • It’s dissolved by vinegar

    Slime, despite being a substance that never spoils, will end up dissolving when it comes into contact with vinegar.

FAQ about slime

  • Why is slime so addicting?

    It’s strange, isn’t it? Even if you’re not the type to enjoy toys, there’s just something fun about slime. Some people will even hurl it to the wall just to hear the satisfying splat. It always seems to have a calming effect.

  • What does it mean when they call slime a non-Newtonian fluid?

    Non-Newtonian fluid, put simply, is a fluid that doesn’t really behave like fluid. In matters of viscosity, it’s not constant like most fluids. Instead, it depends on the situation.

  • How do I make slime more fun?

    There’s lots of ways to make slime more fun, and it all has to do with experimentation. For example, if you add shaving cream to slime, you get a fluffier slime. If you pour vinegar, you’ll find that it dissolves slime. You can also leave slime packaged in the fridge to see if it freezes up!

  • Should I buy my kids slime?

    It’s kind of an odd toy to buy, sure, but it’s worth every penny. It’s plenty of fun for kids of all ages.

Leave a Comment