No one knew what it was made of – in fact, people still don’t know what it’s made of! Certain cities have banned it, and people regularly get in trouble for using it in public places. One poor kid was even denied his high school diploma because he decided to celebrate his graduation with it.
Precious little is known about the origins or ingredients of Silly String. First introduced to the gag-gift market in 1969 by Julius Samann, Ltd, the only thing that is known about Silly String is that it is non-toxic, non-flammable, and completely free of chlorofluorocarbons.
Beyond that, no one, save the manufacturer, knows the exact ingredients of this top-secret tool of pranksters.
No ingredients are listed on the can and the manufacturer refuses to say what they are, claiming that is information is “proprietary”.
Whatever Silly String is comprised of is combined with propellant gas in an aerosol can. When the nozzle is pressed, a thin, pressurised stream of foamy material shoots out, coating a desired target from up to three feet away. It feels wet and cool when first ejected but quickly solidifies into a Styrofoam-like consistency.
Fortunately, the rumours that Silly String can ruin clothes, carpets, etc. are not true. The only substance it is known to stain is vinyl, so keep it away from that pair of vintage go-go boots and the interiors of American-made cars from the 1970s.
Since its introduction, Silly String has become a staple item at novelty stores, party supply stores, and toy emporiums. It has also popped up on television and in films, most notably the Silly String fight in the Tom Hanks classic Big (1988).
In recent years, Silly String has run into some “social” problems, including being banned from a long list of public gatherings that include everything from school graduations to Mardi Gras.
In spite of The Man trying to keep Silly String down, it continues to be popular amongst kids and the young at heart for the harmless fun it provides.