How Was "Play-Doh" Named?
Play-Doh is a commercial modeling compound similar in texture to bread dough that has been sold as a children's toy around the world for a half century. Its exact makeup is a secret, but it is primarily a mixture of wheat flour, water, deodorized kerosene or another petroleum distillate (which provides the smooth texture), salt, a drying agent such as borax (which deters mold), an alum-based hardening agent, and colourings and perfume.
It is non-toxic, non-staining, and soluble in soapy water. When kept in a sealed container, Play-Doh remains pliable, but when exposed to air it hardens in about a day, but because it tends to crack during hardening, it is not good for projects one wants to save. Many baby boomers have fond memories of its salty taste and distinctive smell (due to the small amount of petroleum distillate it contains).
Play-Doh was invented by Noah McVicker and Joseph McVicker in 1956 and awarded U.S. Patent 3,167,440 in 1965. One of many common products invented by accident, it was meant as a wallpaper cleaner. It was marketed by toy manufacturer Rainbow Crafts, and first sold at the Woodward & Lothrop department store in Washington, D.C.
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