Rubber Ducky Facts and Quacks

by Julie Snyder

Rubber Duckie's BirthdayBath time! Along with splashes (is there water still in the tub?) and giggles, you might hear your preschooler (or older "child") blaring out these lyrics first sung by "Sesame Street's" Ernie:

"Rubber Duckie you're the one,
You make bath time lots of fun,
Rubber Duckie I'm awfully fond of you

Rubber Duckie, joy of joys,
When I squeeze you, you make noise,
Rubber Duckie you're my very best friend it's true..."

Toys come and toys go. Only collectors remember the Ginny doll and Rex Mars. A few fortunate toys continue to find a place in the hearts of children generation after generation.

What gives the humble rubber duck its charisma and keeps it floating year after year?

Rubber ducks, those amazingly simple, buoyant plastic bath toys, vaguely resemble ducklings. As a toy, the rubber duck is uncomplicated: it might float, squeak or squirt. Or it could do none of these things. Its simplicity gives it charm. "Sesame Street" and Ernie showed that charm to preschoolers around the world.

Rubber Ducks Float Through the Years

Let's take a look at the history of this bath time icon.

Late 1800's: Rubber manufacturing heralds in the bouncing ball, rubber tires...and the rubber ducky.

1886: The first rubber duck patent is issued.

Post World War II: Patent designs approximate the appearance of rubber duckies as they looked around the 1970s.

1970: Jim Henson's "Rubber Duckie," sung by Ernie reaches number 16 on the Billboard top 100 hits.

January 13: Rubber Duckie's birthday!

The Ducky Today

Variations of rubber ducks -- some traditional and others outlandish -- pop up on shelves, including devil ducks, Santa ducks, hula ducks, bride and groom ducks, pirate ducks and character ducks. Don't forget the historical figure-themed ducks, pink breast cancer awareness ducks, rubber ducks with water activated LED lights. Ducks also glow in the dark, change color and swim with the help of a wind-up engine. They even race for charity!

Frequently Asked Quacks

Why is it called a rubber ducky when it's made of plastic? They were originally made of rubber. The invention of plastic -- durable, flexible, colorful and inexpensive -- changed their composition but not their name.

What do rubber duckies eat? We asked a group of children and learned that common ducky food includes Swedish Fish (a gummy candy), old tires, sea weed snacks and rainbows.

What is the natural habitat of a rubber ducky? Normally these buoyant critters live near bathtubs, but have also been spotted in showers and hot tubs.

Do rubber duckies procreate? Look around you. How else did the world end up with so many?

Rubber duckie I'm awfully fond of
Rubber duckie, I'd like a whole pond of -
Rubber duckie I'm awfully fond of you!

How many duckies live in your "pond?" Let us know in comments.

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