From the December 27, 1946 edition of the Vineyard Gazette:

Slinky’s fame has spread even to the Vineyard, and rightly so, for Slinky has an association with the Island, as most good and clever people and things have. This ingratiating toy is the brain child of Richard T. James, the nephew of Miss Edith James of Vineyard Haven, and is well known here. Mr. James and Slinky were written up in last week’s Saturday Evening Post, by Robert M. Yoder, in a Report to the Editors.

Mr. James, it seems, is a marine engineer, Penn State ‘39, and during the war years he was employed as a “guarantee engineer,” representing the builders on shakedown cruises of some of the Navy’s most famous fighting ships. It was a study of the spring on which a torsion meter, used to test the horsepower delivered by the engines, was suspended, that brought about the birth of the Slinky.

When he knocked one off his desk he noticed that it bounced around like a tumbler and had other interesting and provocative ways. Mr. James’ son Tommy thought one was a wonderful toy and so did his playmates. Convinced vaguely that he had something there, the idea crystallized when Tommy put one of the springs, as yet unchristened, on the step and pulled the top of the spring down to the next step, only to see it walk calmly down the steps. Its other high junks in its descent led Mr. James to set out to design a toy with the same talents.

He had a few manufactured in 1944, but the stores weren’t interested. A month before Christmas, though, one phoned to say they could use some if he would serve as salesman, which he and his wife did, selling 400, their entire supply, in an hour and a half. That started the ball rolling, and so fast it went that by October of this year he was manufacturing 22,000 a week, and sold 430,000, owned his own business and factory, and was through with engineering, at least for the time.

Slinky, as he finally evolved, is not actually a spring, but a coil, a steel ribbon seventy-nine feet long. He looks like a bunch of piston rings but the toy’s personality leads you to think of him as something nearly human.

The Post concludes with a statement that Mr. James is now in the position to take a little flier at a sport tried out at Atlantic City, of racing Slinkys. The Gazette can report that a group of adults spent an evening racing Slinkys up and down the stairs, with a stake-holder, and much cheering on of the entries as they tumbled purposefully down the stairs.

The Navy evacuated the last of its forces from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, formerly the Martha’s Vineyard N.A.A.S., on Monday, leaving the entire establishment to the control of the county, with Burnham Litchfield as manager.

The county now holds a revocable permit under which, Mr. Litchfield explains, it agrees to maintain the buildings which it occupies, and to act as caretaker for the others.

Up to July, 1945, the field represented an expenditure in Navy funds of approximately $3,000,000. The first Navy personnel arrived at the field, then called the N.A.A.F., on March 26, 1943. In September, 1945, the station was changed from a facility to a station. On May 1, 1946, the field was placed on a caretaker status, and on June 29 the county assumed active management and the field was opened for air lines and other civilian air activities. On Dec. 23, 1946, the Navy finally moved out.

Now, in the interval between Christmas and New Year’s, the old things seem to run out. This brief chilly week of short days and late morning suns might easily be the dead sea of the year, sequestered and shut away between the two holidays, but in reality it is not that. The two holidays serve as bulwarks for a while to protect our minds from what has been and from what is to come. We drift, we look around, we think without the usual urgency for thought.

Here we are, in the interval between the best of the old and the hope of the new, and we desire so earnestly to relate them together.

Not a discouraging word will we say. The brighter the hope the better, the loftier the intention the more credit to one and all. In 1947 may good things emerge and flourish, both within and without the inhabitants of this Island and this battered world! To all we say Happy New Year!

The Tisbury town hall, long known as Association Hall, is being painted. Most people have lost track of the number of times that this matter has been brought up in town meetings, but the persistent agitation has borne fruit. This week the E. T. Walker Company has assigned its crew of plain and fancy experts in interior and exterior decorating, likewise ground level and skyline riggers, to the job.

The hall, once a church, and still graced with its belfry and spire, will receive two coats of white, and the tall, old fashioned blinds are to be painted green. A landmark worthy of all efforts in preservation, the town hall is expected to soon assume an appearance of beauty and dignity in keeping with its setting.

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox