Rubber Duck History
Click on pictures to see more
The history of the rubber duck is not known. It is not known when the first rubber duck ever made. We can assume it was made about the time rubber was first being used more and more in manufacturing. This would be in the late 1800s.
We can, however, look at the records of the United States Patent Office.
The first purpose for making a duck out of rubber that I could find was not for a toy but for a decoy. It is however the first reference to a "rubber duck."
The application was filed Febuary 2, 1886 and aproved on October 26, 1886. It was issued patent # 351,709 to George H. Nye.
The next patent was not for a duck but for a rubber toy with a squeaker.
The application was filled January 13, 1903 and aproved March 8, 1904. It was issued patent # 754,148 to Friedrich Kuhlemann of Budapest, Austria-Hungary
A similar patent was issued for another toy in 1927.
The application was filled September 26, 1924 and approved on Febuary 28, 1927. It was issued Patent # 1,616,664 to Frederick J. Maywald of Rutherford, NJ.
This next Patent was for a rubber toy also but unlike the last 2 this one showed a duck in the drawing. All though this toy was not made as a bath toy it was made more in the idea of a "Weeble" that could be pushed over and return back up right
The application was filled April 18, 1925 and approved on May 8, 1928 it was issued Patent # 1,668,785 to Lawrence Landon Smart of Yonkers NY
After all this time we finaly get a rubber duck designed as a toy made for the bath tub. Though we finaly combine the Duck, Rubber, Toy and Bath concept together this is still not what we would call a rubber duck today. This idea was more like a sprinkler for the tub.
The application was filled November 28, 1936 and approved on December 7, 1937 it was issued Patent # 2,101,646 to Burgess L. Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The next evolution we final get to a rubber bath toy much closser to what we concider a rubber duck today. But instead of a squeaker or weighted floater we know today this one was made to be squeased and propel the duck.
The application was filled March 4, 1931 and approved on July 18, 1933 it was issued Patent # 1,918,874 to Eleanor Shannahan of Easton, Maryland
Finaly right after world war 2 we get the patents that are what we would call classic rubber ducks. The design is nice and both would make nice molds even over 50 years latter. It is also known from both of these patents that there were rubber ducks on the market before these patants since both refrance a 1945 Sears Catalog
The first application was filled December 29, 1947 and approved on April 26, 1949 it was issued Design Patent # Des. 153,514 to Peter Ganine of Los Angeles, California The Patent was good for 14 years
The second application was filled March 26, 1948 and approved on June 26, 1950 it was issued Design Patent # Des. 159,127 to Robert Y. Allen and FMelvin Shaw of Beverly Hills, California The Patent was good for 7 years
One of the Sears catalogs from the 1947 Patent
In the early 1930s Tom Casey, Vice-President of Seiberling Latex Company got licence to produce some of the Walt Disney products in rubber
The first products were the 3 little pigs and they sold so well they then produced Mickey Mouse, the Big Bad Wolf and Donald Duck. It is that
Donald Duck that many concider the first rubber duck.
The Seiberling brothers founded the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, named in honor of Charles Goodyear.
©2008,2011,2012 John Truempy