Magnet pictures a vintage advertisement for Silly Putty that appeared in a 1950s comic book -- with the grainy resolution and overly saturated colors pulp paper delivered so well.
Silly putty was discovered during World War II when research was being done to develop synthetic rubber. (Japan's invasion of rubber-producing countries in the Far East had jeopardized supplies needed to manufacture boots and tires.)
A Scottish engineer, James Wright, working in a New Haven, Connecticut General Electric laboratory, combined boric acid and silicone oil. Wright emptied the mixture from the test tube onto the floor and it bounced. Entertaining but GE couldn't determine a useful purpose for it. The owner of a Connecticut toy store, Ruth Fallgotter, heard about it and in 1949 added it to her toy catalog. It sold well but Falgotter wasn't interested in investing to market it to a larger market so her advertising consultant, Peter Hodgson, stepped in and introduced it at the International Toy Fair in New York. Toy buyers were not impressed and advised Hodgson to abandon the product but he persisted. He persuaded Neiman-Marcus and Doubleday book shops to put Silly Putty on the shelf. A New Yorker writer found it at the bookstore and wrote about it in the August 1950 issue. In three days over a quarter million Silly Putty eggs sold as novelties...to adults. Over the next five years, despite a hiatus caused by the Korean war, Silly Putty became a "must have" toy for children 6-12 (including Yours Truly).
In 1977, following Hodgson's death, Silly Putty was acquired by Binney & Smith, known now by it's primary brand: Crayola. (And thanks to them for the history info.) Check out today's Silly Putty product lineup on the manufacturer's website.