Thursday, June 7, 2012

Random facts: the Rubber Duck

File:Rubber Duck.jpg

It is not known exactly when the first rubber ducks were made, but it is thought to have coincided with the development of the rubber industry in the early 19th century. The first patent related to a floating rubber duck was filed in 1886. These early ducks were crudely shaped out of hard rubber. After World War II, the patents started to resemble the modern yellow ducks that people are used to seeing today.

The first rubber ducks were made of hard rubber that did not float very well. Most modern rubber ducks are made from plastic that is melted down and poured into a duck-shaped mold. A small hole is left in the bottom of the duck so air can pass through to make a squeaking sound.

"Rubber Duckie" Song
In 1970, the "Rubber Duckie" song was performed by Ernie on Sesame Street. The song, written by Jeff Moss, was included on the Sesame Street album released that year. It stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for nine weeks, peaking at No. 16. This sudden mainstream popularity boosted the sales of rubber ducks in the early 1970s.

Rubber ducks have become a collector's item for some hobbyists. No longer limited to the simple yellow duck, collectors can purchase rubber ducks in almost any color or costume. Some of the collectible items include holiday-themed rubber ducks, neon ducks that glow in the dark, ducks designed to look like celebrities, and rubber ducks sold to raise money for charity.

Rubber Duck Races
The popularity of the rubber ducks has led to the creation of races. Many of these events are used to raise money for charity, such as the annual Halifax Duck Derby in Canada. The longest-running rubber duck race in the United States is held in Cincinnati, Ohio, to raise funds for the Freestore Foodbank. It has been held every year since 1994 and is expected to have more than 85,000 ducks entered in the 2009 event.

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