Play-Doh Was Originally a Wallpaper Cleaner

Kailey Thom, Editor-in-Chief

Did you know that Play-Doh, a childhood staple, was originally a wallpaper cleaner?

It’s true! What started off as a humble wallpaper cleaner and household tool quickly rose to become one of the childhood staples of many.

In the 1920’s, Cleo McVicker was working for a soap company that was barely staying afloat. The company was slowly going under, and unless they were able to come up with a business deal and a new product, their business would have to shut down. Eventually McVicker negotiated a deal with Kroger that led to him and his brother making a malleable putty that was then marketed as a household wallpaper cleaner in order to remove soot residue created by the coal furnaces in the home off the wallpaper.

This was a successful story for the next two decades until the 1940’s, when many people began switching to oil and gas based stoves. McVicker’s sister-in-law, a school teacher, later convinced him to market the putty as a toy and creative tool for children. McVicker then founded Rainbow Crafts Company Inc. with the success of the new putty. The company went on to manufacture the product until the 90’s when the company was acquired by Hasbro, the maker of Play-Doh today. Slowly throughout the decades, new accessories were added until Play-Doh quickly rose to its height as a household and childhood staple.

Learn more about the history of Play-Doh here.

What was your favorite childhood toy? Let us know in the comments on this article!