Sunday, August 31, 2014

Made in Wisconsin: Shrinky Dinks

Such fun memories I had as a child, making Shrinky Dinks! Little did I know then that, mirabile dictu, they were invented and produced in my home state of Wisconsin! Here's the story.

The year was 1973. In Brookfield, Wisconsin, Betty Morris and Kate Bloomberg invented Shrinky Dinks initially as a project for their sons to do with their Cub Scout troop. But they realized that this fun had much bigger potential. 

Now, it needs to be said, the name they chose for this product is, well, certainly evocative.  But the success of their business is proof enough that they chose well.

If you've never made Shrinky Dinks (or even heard of them), the idea is that you color and cut forms made of polystyrene plastic, then bake them. They "shrink" dramatically, while keeping their shape and the added color. It was fun, cheap entertainment to us back before kids had video games. 

Here's what it looks like:

They are still produced by K & B (Kate and Betty) Innovations, Inc. in North Lake, Wisconsin. 

Yet another classic example of Wisconsin industry and ingenuity!

Keith Massey was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. He has his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Biblical Hebrew, with a minor in Arabic. After 9/11, he served as an Arabic linguist at the NSA. He is currently a Latin teacher at a public high school in New Jersey.

Keith is the author of Intermediate Arabic for Dummies. His fiction novels follow the adventures of Andrew Valquist, roughly patterned after himself--a man born and raised in Wisconsin who gets pulled into the world of international intrigue. 

Keith's novels are A Place of Brightness, Amor Vincit Omnia: An Andrew Valquist Adventure, Next Stop: Spanish, and In Saecula Saeculorum.