According Hasbro the current owners of Play-Doh, "In 1956, Play-Doh Brand Modeling Compound, a non-toxic reusable modeling compound developed and introduced by Rainbow Crafts in Cincinnati, was first demonstrated and sold in the toy department of Woodward & Lothrop Department Store in Washington, D.C."
Play-Doh had been tested/introduced one year earlier (1955) in select schools, kindergartens and nursery schools. Hasbro also states that the formula for the original Play-Doh compound still remains a trade secret. Noah McVicker and Joseph McVicker were granted their patent ten years (1965) after Play-Doh was first introduced.
The first Play-Doh Compound came only in an off-white, 1 1/2 pound can and By 1957, there were three additional colors of Play-Doh, yellow, red, and blue.
Play-Doh As A Wallpaper Cleaner?Play-Doh was originally designed as a wallpaper cleaner. However, its similarity to regular modeling clay without the toxicity or mess made Play-Doh a great toy. Joe McVicker became a millionaire before his 27th birthday after re-releasing the product as a toy.
Play-Doh TrademarksIn 1960, the first rendition of Play-Doh Pete, a boy with a beret, was introduced. Pete, as well as the Play-Doh logo, have changed over the years. Registration # 1221942, one example of the famous Play-Doh trademark, illustrates a classic rendition of Pete with his beret. A more modern Play-Doh Pete, looking a little older and donning a baseball cap, can be found in Registration #2504268. If you want to see these trademarks just use the "click for more images" function on the "Play Doh" photo in the upper right.
Play-Doh Changes HandsIn 1965, General Mills purchased the Rainbow Crafts Company. In 1971, Kenner Products merged with Rainbow Crafts. In 1987, the Tonka Corporation bought Rainbow Crafts and Kenner Products. In 1991, Hasbro bought the Tonka Corporation and transferred Play-Doh to its Playskool division.
Believe it or not, National Play-Doh Day is September 18th. To date, over seven hundred million pounds of Play-Doh have been sold.