Topsy-turvy world of Slinky on tap

If the word slinky conjures up engaging images from your youth rather than a seductive evening gown, then the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS) has an event for you.

The Slinky's

'The History of the Slinky in Chester County' will be presented on Monday, Feb. 29, starting at 6:30 p.m. at Barnaby's West Chester.

On Monday, Feb. 29, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., CCHS will present the latest edition of "History on Tap," a series that brings history alive with periodic programs at area restaurants and taverns. This session’s topic will be the iconic Slinky toy, which was invented in 1943 by a Delaware County resident.

'Naval engineer Richard T. James demonstrated the Slinky at the former Gimbels department store in Philadelphia in November 1945, and sales skyrocketed.

Decades later, Bob Swaim, a retired Souderton High math and computer teacher, will speak about "The History of the Slinky in Chester County," focusing on its enduring popularity. The program will be held at Barnaby’s West Chester, 15 South High, West Chester.

Swaim was raised in Chester County and graduated from West Chester University.  A noted speaker on human-powered vehicles and toys, he taught high school math for 30 years and was the first computer teacher at his school.  His latest interest is the Slinky, according to a CCHS press release.

James, the Slinky’s inventor, attended Westtown School and later lived in Delaware County, where the Slinky was manufactured. The evening’s presentation will be very visual, and will include a Slinky escalator from Canada. Swaim’s future plans for Slinky include a sculpture, a law about the Slinky, and a movie.

Like all History on Tap programs, food and drink will be available for purchase. The free program is sponsored by BB&T, and WCHE 1520AM. The portable sound system is sponsored by Colleen and Basel Frens.

For more information about the historical society, visit More information on the restaurant can be found at




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