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josie's avatar

What is the origin/history of the rubber duck bathtub toy?

Asked by josie (30931points) October 12th, 2015
7 responses
“Great Question” (2points)

There had to be a first one.
Somebody made it, gave it as a gift or sold it.
figure it had to be after people started using bathtubs and stopped bathing in the washtub in the kitchen. Or not.

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Coloma's avatar

Good question for mother goose here. haha
Well..looks like they came on the scene back around the turn of the century when rubber became more widely used. They were originally made of hard rubber but the soft rubber ones are a newer invention. Their popularity soared during the Sesame Street era.
I had glowing, multi-colored rubber duckies in my hot tub a few years ago, great fun at night time. haha

Here ya go…a timeless classic.

marinelife's avatar

I think it was a natural: fuzzy baby ducks floating on lakes and ponds, after all. Sometime in the 1940s a guy, Peter Ganine, sculpted one and then produced bathtub toys of his sculpture out of the newly invented rubber and sold them.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I always thought that it was a coined phrase from people who didn’t want to use swear words (M*****F*****) comes to mind, but still wanted to have a term that had lots of short Us and Rs in it so that listeners would think they were actually swearing.

So instead of saying “You M*****F****** !!” they would actually say “Rubber Duck!” instead.

rojo's avatar

Their first attempt, painted lead ducklings, was an abysmal failure.

talljasperman's avatar

Maybe it was a duck decoy for hunting and someone made the connection for bathing.
Rubber ducky you’re the one rubber ducky you’re so fun.

msh's avatar

rojo- you made me burst out laughing- thanks, I needed that.
The first duck toys were indeed for baby’s bath time. If they chewed on them, it was ok.
Now I can’t vouch for the taste, or if they had lead-based paint, buuutttt….

jca's avatar

I had a collector’s item duck that was hard plastic (Bakelite?) and it was a rattle. I bet that was the precursor – someone got the idea to put it in the tub.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (2points)

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