Category Archives: INVENTIONS


In the late Fifties my Uncle Turner aka T. J. Broom started a service business that owed its success to smog.
Dirty air was creating dirty buildings. Whereas single family homes could be kept clean by hosing down masonry residences and  painting frame structures, the world’s skyscrapers need for a hands-on approach was more difficult.

The  T. J. B.Company found ways to solve these problems and to prosper in the doing, thereof.

Uncle Turner and his business grew and even included limited restoration of war-torn communities in Europe. Back home in Dallas T. J. had a team of technicians that helped to create equipment and cleaning chemicals that would make this difficult work less tedious and more competitive.

One of their tasks was to create a putty which could be used in any climate, something that was flexible yet enduring, somewhat soft but not buttery.
One of the chemists, let’s call him Jake, was a techy with a sense of humor whose creative mind encouraged him to begin running experiments of his own. I was a boy at the time and spent my summers  with Dallas relatives; my favorite hangout was the T. J. B. lab; my best summertime friend was Jake.
One day Jake grabbed a handful of what appeared to be a putty with all the right attributes and began to knead and squeeze  and eventually to  mold it into a ball. He dropped it on the glass-topped lab table and it bounced.
He did it again with the same results…
and again…
and again.
On the third or fourth trial the ball cracked.
And when Jake eventually invented a toy that would later come to be known as Silly Putty, I thought it to be the greatest invention the world would ever see in a world that already had the Slinky.
Soon there would be hundreds of people claiming ownership of this discovery but to little Bobbie Lee Gettings-Oakes-Broom, Uncle Turner and his lab-tech Jake , had gifted the world, not only with hundreds of shiny tall buildings but with millions of small smiles on the faces of children everywhere.
PS: I recently bought some soy based “meat” balls which had some or these same properties.