Dissecting a Fad: How the Slinky, Mr. Potato Head and Pet Rock Became Crazy Popular

Dissecting a Fad: How the Slinky, Mr. Potato Head and Pet Rock Became Crazy Popular
Image credit: shutterstock
Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC
2 min read

Getting people to pay money for a pet rock is the kind of idea that anybody would call flat out ridiculous. Except that The Pet Rock is a real toy, and for a time, it was crazy popular.

There’s something maddening about a fad. If you intentionally want to start one, it’s almost impossible. But once it gets going, there is almost nothing that can stop it.

That’s exactly what happened with the Pet Rock, Slinky and Mr. Potato Head, according to a video produced by ecommerce platform Shopify.

Related: Inventor of the Wildly Popular 'Rainbow Loom' Weaves the American Dream With Rubber Bands in a Detroit Basement

The idea behind the famous Slinky came to naval engineer Richard James in 1943 when he accidentally pushed a spring off his desk.

It wasn’t an instant hit. For the first couple of years that the Slinky was on the market, it was a bit of a bust. Then, a Philadelphia department store gave the simple toy its own display case in time for Christmas in 1945. All 400 slinkys were gone in under two hours.

To hear more about the craze surrounding the Pet Rock, Slinky and Mr. Potato Head, watch the video below.

Related: Ladurée's Sweet Ascent: How a Fad Food Is Spawning an International Empire

Related: Rainbow Loom Maker Sues Rival Toymaker Over Patents

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