What the duck?! For over a century, rubber ducks have been a quintessential part of childhood, and we have Goodyear tires and Walt Disney to thank. Learn how they’re made and how they’ve influenced history:
Engineering Rubber Ducks
1. Rubber ducks were invented thanks to Charles Goodyear
In the late 1800s, manufacturers used Charles Goodyear’s process for strengthening and waterproofing rubber, also known as vulcanization, to create rubber chew toys. Later in the 1930s, play versions of the duck began popping up, including one created by Walt Disney and Seiberling Latex Products.
2. Rubber ducks aren’t made of rubber
At least not anymore! Today they’re mostly made of vinyl plastic.
Rubber Ducks Making History
3. Rubber ducks have helped scientists study ocean currents
In 1992, a cargo ship spilled 29,000 bath toys, including rubber ducks, into the North Pacific, leaving the ducks at the mercy of the ocean. In the decades since, rubber ducks have washed up on beaches around the world and given scientists clues about ocean currents.
4. The world’s largest rubber duck is six stories high and 1,500 pounds
“Mama Duck” has become a waterfront sensation and toured around the country to promote conservation and happiness!
5. The world’s largest rubber duck race had 205,000 ducks
The ducks traveled one kilometer down the River Thames in 2009.
Bonus: The largest rubber duck race in the U.S. takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio!
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