The invention of Silly Putty is disputed, having been claimed by Earl Warrick of the Dow Corning Corporation and James Wright of General Electric. Each inventor was independently looking for synthetic alternatives to rubber and discovered that boric acid reacted with silicone oil created a gooey, stretchable material.
Regardless of the inventor, historians agree Silly Putty was popularized by toy store owner Ruth Fallgatter in 1949. She worked with marketing consultant Peter Hodgson to place the unique material in plastic cases and sell it for $2 as a bouncing toy putty. After Fallgatter lost interest, Hodgson pursued additional sales, first coining the phrase "Silly Putty" as a name for the substance. In 1977, Binney and Smith, the makers of Crayola products, acquired the rights to Silly Putty a year after Hodgson passed away.