Top 5 Awesome Play-Doh Facts

Michael Wynands Fun to play with… and not to eat! Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the top five facts about Play-Doh. This simple modelling clay has been encouraging kids get creative for generations. Come along as we explore a handful of fun facts, tantalizing tidbits and memorable moments that have helped shape this wildly successful product’s legacy.
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Top 5 Play-Doh Facts



Fun to play with… and not to eat! Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the top five facts about Play-Doh.

This simple modelling clay has been encouraging kids get creative for generations. Come along as we explore a handful of fun facts, tantalizing tidbits and memorable moments that have helped shape this wildly successful product’s legacy.

#5: It Came From Humble Beginnings



The road to success is rarely straightforward. In Play-Doh’s case… it was particularly sooty one. When the earliest version of this product hit shelves in the 1930s, it was a household cleaner - specifically designed to remove the coal residue that built up on wallpaper in the days of coal-based furnaces. Commissioned by Kroger grocery stores from the then-failing Kutol Soap Company, “Kutol Wall Cleaner” was a success. But then coal heating went out of style. With oil and gas furnaces, Kutol was left holding a handful of essentially useless dough. Just when financial failure seemed inevitable, one innovative arts teacher made the save… but that’s a story for a later fact.

#4: Dr. Tien Liu: Play-Doh Expert



Regardless of how good you were at making Play-Doh creations as a kid… your experience as an amateur sculpting enthusiast is probably best left off your professional resume. The only person to whom that does not apply, is Dr. Tien Liu, who held the official (and unique) position of “Play-Doh Expert” at Rainbow Crafts, Kenner Toys and Hasbro over the years. The McVicker family, who owned Kutol Soap and invented the original wall cleaner compound, hired Dr. Liu to make the necessary changes to the recipe, in order to improve its lifespan and make it child-friendly. While there are plenty of recipes out there for homemade Play-Doh, there’s something special about Liu’s secret formula that sets it apart from all imitations.

#3: A Seriously Popular Scent



Is there anything that smells more like childhood than Play-Doh? If it’s been awhile since you’ve handled some, crack open a plastic can of the stuff, breathe it in and let memories of a simpler time wash over you. People have a serious attachment to this distinctly homey scent. In fact, to celebrate Play-Doh’s 50th anniversary in 2006, Hasbro teamed up with the Demeter Fragrance Library in order to create a Play-Doh-scented cologne. Demeter says the product is intended for “highly-creative people, who seek a whimsical scent reminiscent of their childhood”. In 2016, Play-Doh celebrated 60 years by creating a record-breaking “plastic tub mosaic” in Mexico city - proving that with Play-Doh, you can get creative without ever opening the container.

#2: The Mother of Play-Doh



They say that behind every successful man is a great woman, and Play-Doh is no exception. So today, we’re kindly asking the McVicker men behind “Kutol Wall Cleaner” to step aside so that Kay Zufall can get the credit she deserves. Because without his sister-in-law Kay, Joe McVicker would’ve never turned his wall cleaner into a children’s toy. She’s the often unnamed teacher who suggested the new application, after having tested the product out with her school children. Joe loved the idea! And promptly gave it the wildly unappealing name “Kutol’s Rainbow Modeling Compound”. Apparently… the only one who had ever met an actual child, Kay Zufall kindly suggested the infinitely better name “Play-Doh”. Since then, over 2 billion cans of it have been sold.

#1: Play-Doh: A Tool of Fraud and Deception



Play-Doh is a great toy for kids. It’s non-toxic and poses minimal choking hazard risks. In reality, when it comes to Play-Doh, it’s those devious adults that you really have to worry about. In the early 2000s when fingerprint scanning technology began to take off, people discovered the sinister potential of this malleable compound to copy fingerprints. According to one 2005 study, over 90% of scanners could be beaten using Play-Doh. Over a decade later, advanced biometric systems are more secure. But even in 2016, many consumer scanners, like the one found on an iphone, are still vulnerable to this seemingly harmless substance. Using a dental mold or comparable substance to copy the fingerprint, and a bit of Play-Doh, your phone can be unlocked with relative ease.
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