Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fragrant Fondness

For years man has waged a war against the unpleasant aromas created by the human condition. From sprays to bathing the solutions are numerous and in many cases underused (that guy on the bus the other day could have made a buzzard gag). Cheap alternatives have been fashioned so children have something to buy their parents as gifts and celebrities have fashioned their own brands in an effort to bolster their income and shield them from dwindling income due to their lack of skills and declining movie appearances. I'm not a perfume or cologne type person myself unless someone fashioned an Eau de Prime Rib, or so I thought.

Somewhere in the bowels of a building in Great Neck NY an idea was born. A company by the name of Demeter Fragrance, who was responsible for other fragrances that would interest the likes of me like sawdust and countless foods, has struck again. My new favorite cologne is eau de Play Doh! Soon to be a favourite of day care providers and children the world over it is born of a grander time and product. To set the stage we have to go back in time to 1956 when a new product was launched.

A year prior, a compound initially intended for the cleaning of wallpaper was discovered to be wonderfully pliable and non-toxic. As is the typical reaction in the world someone else saw it and realized a far better use. Joe McVicker of Kutol Chemicals had created the wallpaper cleaner and was talking to a teacher who informed him that the modeling clay the children used was difficult to shape and was troublesome for the smaller children. He immediately gave them some of his clay to try and it was a hit. Originally packaged in only one and a half pound boxes, coloured only off white, Play Doh had been launched. After word got around about this wondrous new substance a new company called Rainbow Crafts had been founded and a Washington DC store called Woodward and Lothrop picked up the product. The first cans had a little elf on it who was soon replaced by my personal hero "Play Doh Pete". Over the years Rainbow Crafts has changed hands many times. In 1965, General Mills purchased the Rainbow Crafts Company. In 1971, Kenner Products merged with Rainbow Crafts. In 1987, the Tonka Corporation bought Rainbow Crafts and Kenner Products. In 1991, Hasbro bought the Tonka Corporation and transferred Play-Doh to its Playskool division. Luckily for children the world over, Play Doh has survived each transition.

The magical clay has changed formulations over the years and has had a great many colours added to its lines, but remains one of the most popular play items on the planet. Over 900 million pounds has been sold over the years in the original cardboard cans, and then eventually in the plastic containers we know today. Where we once squished it in our hands and squealed with delight as it oozed between our fingers, we now have a plethora of options. I wore out at least two Play Doh Fun Factories and one Mop Top Barber Shop when I was a kid and now the lines have been bolstered with all manner of molds and kits, allowing us to make whatever we want. I can't wait until our little ones are old enough to use Play Doh as something other than a snack food so we can break out the tubs and respark the sculpting revolution.

Remember on September Believe it or not, National Play-Doh Day is September 18th. To date, over seven hundred million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold.


Blogger redheaded said...

i heard this on the news and it really cracked me up! but does the smell bring back those childhood memories, too?

9:20:00 AM  
Blogger MyUtopia said...

We use to make our own play-dough when we were kids.

12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous hellbunny said...

I love the smell of playdough.Its a little like baby powder it reminds you of being a kid

12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

Personally, I enjoy eating play-doh. It's just so dang salty. When you can't get enough salt from the Dutch treat, Droppies, play-doh is always there!

3:37:00 PM  
Blogger wondy woman said...

Play doh has got to be one of the least sexy aromas there is - I would leave a guy who smelt like it. Ew!!

4:14:00 PM  
Blogger Perpetual Chocoholic said...

Finally! A fragrance I may like! And now I can stop walking around with play-doh in my pockets, behind my ears, and in my armpits to get that "back to my childhood" feeling!

11:36:00 AM  
Blogger MsDemmie said...

Play- doh always makes me think " oh no its all over the carptet" - which it invariably was. I much prefer the Leather by Demeter myelf.

3:55:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

like myutopia, we made our own too. I don't remember if it was supposed to be edible...but we ate it anyway.

that might explain a few things....

10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Hick said...

I heard about that perfume on the news the other day, but I didn't know the history of playdough. Pretty interesting in a weird sort of way.

11:39:00 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

I was standing behind one of those "unpleasant aromas" for an hour today in traffic court. As if the experience wouldn't have been unpleasant enough by itself!
Play-Doh does have that particular aroma to it, though I can't really quite place it as it's been so long. I'll have to see if the fragrance ladies at the dept. store counters will spritz me a little of this Demeter stuff.

11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

so as you are a parent as well, I'm sure that u know play doh and wallpaper don't mix, so how would one use it to clean it? asking particularly since my son has yet again drawn on newly installed wallpaper in the shade of white.....arrrggghhhhhh

3:58:00 PM  

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