Richard James: biography, creativity, career, personal life

Youth and persistent inquisitiveness The biography of

 Richard James is remarkable from the first day of his life — his birthday came on January 1. The year then was 1914. The country where the birth took place is the USA (state of Delaware).

Since childhood, the irrepressible inquisitiveness of a young child began to show. Later in an interview with one newspaper, his brother Samuel told that James once wanted to earn more money and solve the problem of lack of funds. For that, a convenient case turned up: one Sunday morning, he found an old abandoned car, repaired it, set it in motion and sold for $25.

Curious Richard, like many young people, has come to grips with how various things are created. And graduated from university in Pennsylvania in a mechanical engineering major on the exodus of the 1930s. After receiving his education, he became employed as a naval engineer. World War II broke out, in which the US had to later become involved. James is changing his life, too: entering a job as an office employee at a Philadelphia shipyard. There he became responsible for building equipment for battleships and submarines.

Invention of the Slinky spring

In 1943, engineer James was developing a new type of tension spring that could improve the stabilization of the ship while pumping at sea. One day, he accidentally swiped a jar of details off the shelf. The spring that fell out of it didn’t stop, and started “stepping” through the table and stacks of books and further — on the floor. Richard such a spectacular move of the spring surprised and prompted the idea: what if you make a toy out of it?

Returning home, he told of his idea to his wife. It will then give the name of the spring – slinky (smooth, graceful).

A keen engineer messed with wire in his spare time, picking up the right type of steel and elasticity coefficient. Finding the right wire, he decided to show the toy to neighborhood children. They liked it enormously, and here the inventor was visited by another new idea: whether to try to sell the bent and jumping construction.

The toy sold poorly at first. But then things settled. The whole city learned about the funny “staggering” spring, and Richard’s financial condition increased substantially. Through the occasion and his ingenuity, marine engineer Richard James gained fame and millions of dollars.

The idea of Slinky began to be used for other purposes: in the production of lamps, gutters, therapeutic apparatus, antennas.

Family and religious addiction

James’s personal life did not run smoothly. The couple began to have children from the mid-1950s. The family grew apart: 6 children were born in total. But then problems began to appear in the family. Richard, as it turned out, was a lover of women. The wife didn’t leave her husband for the sake of the children. But the bitterness of grievances squeezed the heart. James subsequently began to appear more frequently in the church, in its confessional part. In addition to cheating on his wife, the talented engineer joined a religious sect and slowly began to “volunteer” to help the organization. He gave money a lot. This is not surprising: sects with religious bias are always happy to supplement their budget at the expense of lost, suffering or psychologically vulnerable people.


Fates of James and his Company

In 1960. Richard James is going to leave for Bolivia to fall in one village to a religious sect, and calls his wife to go with him. But Betty refuses such an adventurous offer and stays. And Richard goes alone.

Left with the children, Betty took over all the business of the sprawling company and over time straightened things out, increasing sales and swapping Slinky’s design. In keeping the firm from going bankrupt and continuing to exist, Betty made a significant contribution.

In Bolivia, the inventor lived for about 14 years and died in 1974. His wife Betty lived considerably longer: leaving this world in 2008 at the age of 90.

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