No bath is the same without a rubber duck.
- Rubber ducks are popular buoyant, duck-shaped toys that are stereotypically yellow.
- Rubber ducks are typically played with in the bathtub, especially by young children, and they have been used to encourage children to be less fearful of having a bath.
- A ‘rubber duck’ is also known as a ‘rubber duckie’ and ‘rubber ducky’; and in 2013, the duck was included in the Toy Hall of Fame.
- The rubber duck originated in the late 1800s, and was originally made of the newly available hard rubber, and as they were intended as a toy to chew on, they were not hollow, so they were not buoyant.
- Since the 1950s, flexible PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic has been used to make rubber ducks, and they are usually relatively soft and squeezable, sometimes making a squeaky noise; and many variations to the common simple-shaped yellow ducks have since been produced.
- Sesame Street’s Ernie popularised the rubber duck in 1970, when he first sang a song about his own ‘Rubber Duckie’, the Muppet’s favourite toy, and the song became a hit and had significant impact on some aspects of western culture.
- The modern style of the rubber duck is believed to be based upon one that was patented in 1949 by Peter Ganine, a Russian-American artist, and it is said that at least fifty million ducks of his design were sold.
- Rubber ducks are collected by a small population of people, and the largest collection, as of 2011, that was recognised by the Guinness World Records, included 5631 unique ducks, and these were owned by Charlotte Lee of the United States.
- The largest floating rubber duck in the world, as of 2016, made its debut in 2014, and it was created from inflatable vinyl with a steel pontoon for a base; was 18.6 metres (61 feet) in height; and owned by American Craig Samborski; though other giant rubber ducks exist or have existed and have been placed in harbours and other waterways around the world – an idea originally birthed and designed by artist Florentijn Hofman from the Netherlands.
- Rubber duck derbies are events held around the globe, often as fundraisers, consisting of thousands, or as many as a hundred thousand ducks set afloat in the race, and the first to cross the finish line is designated the winner.
Meyer L, Rubber Ducks and Their Significance in Contemporary American Culture, 2006, Celebri Ducks, http://www.celebriducks.com/pdf/rubber_duck_history.pdf