This was a byproduct of America’s efforts to create synthetic rubber for the War Effort.  It was stretchy, squishy, and oily. It was put in egg-shaped plastic containers, and made its owner...

This was a byproduct of America’s efforts to create synthetic rubber for the War Effort.  It was stretchy, squishy, and oily. It was put in egg-shaped plastic containers, and made its owner $140,000,000 by the time of his death. What was it? 

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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The product in question is today sold as Silly Putty.  Today, it is a children's toy.  When the United States entered World War II, they lost access to most of the world's rubber supply.  The areas where rubber came from were controlled by the Axis powers.  This caused many problems, as rubber was needed for tires.  Truck and airplane tires were essential to the war effort.  Rubber drives were held, and things like tires were rationed.  

The quest to develop new types of synthetic rubber became essential.  An engineer named James Wright worked on the development of synthetic rubber products.  In 1943, he created the synthetic rubber material that would later become Silly Putty.  He thought it to be a complete failure.  As a usable rubber product for the War Effort, it was unsuccessful.  It did, however, have other uses.  A salesman eventually found the putty and showed it to others.  Someone had the idea to market the putty as a sort of toy.  This failed synthetic rubber became the toy icon known as Silly Putty.