What Was Play-Doh® First Used as?

Play-Doh® was first used as a product to clean wallpaper. Created by N.W. McVicker in 1933 as a cleaning compound for wallpaper, the idea of converting the non-toxic, off-white product to a type of modeling clay for children was inspired by a magazine article read in 1954 by a nursery school teacher named Kay Zufall, who was the sister-in-law of McVicker's nephew, Joe. Originally sold to schools in 1-gallon (3.8-liter) cardboard cans of red, yellow or blue modeling clay, Play-Doh® quickly became a favorite with kids.

More facts about Play-Doh®:

  • The product continued to be sold in cardboard containers until 1986. At that time, Play-Doh® began to be packaged in plastic containers.

  • Play-Doh® caught on with the public thanks to Captain Kangaroo, whose real name was Bob Keegan. In 1957, the popular children's television show host was offered 2 percent of the profits if he would if he would feature the product on his show once a week. The Captain was so happy with the product that he featured it up to three times each week. As a result, loyal fans of the show began demanding that local stores carry Play-Doh®.

  • In 2000, people had the chance to vote on their favorite colors for the product. Hasbro, the current manufacturer of Play-Doh®, said that rose red, garden green, blue lagoon and purple paradise were the most popular colors among the roughly 100,000 people who participated in the survey.

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