According to a 1973 Sesame Street calendar, January 13th is Rubber Ducky's birthday. Ducky (or Duckie) made his debut on a 1970 episode of Sesame Street, appearing as Bert and Ernie's friend. Rubber Ducky has come along way from his original concept as a chew toy for teething babies. Although his origin is uncertain, we do know that many molded rubber toys, primarily in the shapes of animals, have been around since the late 1800's. During World War I and II, rubber was a valuable commodity and was rationed, but by the 1940's and the advent of plastic, the rubber ducky began being produced in vinyl and plastic.
The earliest patent for a rubber ducky toy was in 1928, by Landon Smart Lawrence. His design was for a child's bath toy that was weighted and, when tipped over, would return to its upright position. The sketch that he included with his patent was for a small yellow duck. A Russian sculptor, named Peter Ganine, sculpted many animal figures. One, a duck, he later patented as a floating toy, most closely resembles the rubber ducky of today.
In 2001, sales of the iconic rubber ducky began to soar in England after a the British tabloid, The Sun, reported that Queen Elizabeth II had a rubber duck in her bathroom that wore an inflatable crown. (But of course!)
The rubber ducky was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2013. Founded in 1998, the Toy Hall of Fame has inducted only 52 other toys. These include: Barbie, Lincoln Logs, Crayola Crayons, Lego, Frisbee, and the Hula Hoop. Rubber Ducky is in pretty good company...and it's quite an honor for what started out as a simple chew toy.
How to observe this special day? You can, certainly, take a bath with your very own rubber ducky...or, you can use #NationalRubberDuckyDay to post on social media.
Have a great weekend and I hope to see you all back here on Monday!