Wise Quacks: A History of the Rubber Duck

If you still have any of your early childhood toys, the odds favor that it may be a yellow duck. The ubiquitous bath toy is not only classic, but fairly indestructible. And they've been around longer than you think -almost as long as rubber itself.

The ducks had their origins in the mid-1800s, when rubber manufacturing began to gain ground. Out of the many animals crafted, they were the most native to water and broke away from the pack. Families who used to make bathing a weekly event prior to Sunday church sessions would entice children to submerge themselves in the murky tubs with a duck, some of which didn’t float. They were intended as chew toys.

Anything that makes bathing a child easier is bound to be popular. The improvements in the rubber duck came because it was popular, which made it a user-driven design. Read what else happened to the classic rubber duck on its way to your bathroom at Mental Floss. 


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