Do you remember that Paul Simon song from 1977, “Slip Slidin’ Away”?

It was one of his sneaky hits, rising to #5 on the charts that year.

Of course, like many of the great songs of the ‘70s, it’s beginning to fade away.

But another smash hit invented in 1960 is still going strong.

The famed Wham-O “Slip ‘N Slide.”

Now, you might think such an iconic summer fun delight would’ve resulted from years of analysis and research in the mysterious Wham-O “Mad Toy Scientist” laboratories.

Not so much.

Instead, it’s the brainchild of Robert Carrier, an upholsterer for a boat manufacturing company.

Returning home after work one day, he discovered his 10-year-old son Mike and his friends careening down the concrete driveway of their home in Lakewood, CA. The boys had unleashed the garden hose on the painted driveway and were having a great time scooting down its slick surface.

Like any same parent, he immediately yelled, “you guys are going to kill yourself on that concrete!”. After that initial reaction, his innovative brain kicked in, and he took it upon himself to create a safer alternative. So the next day, Carrier brought home a 50-foot roll of Naugahyde, which he unraveled on the driveway – providing a somewhat more cushioned alternative. It worked great.

On May 2, 1961, he obtained the patent for “Aquatic Play Equipment” – upgrading from Naugahyde to a roll of plastic into which a hose could be inserted and water released.

He showed his invention to co-workers, and his boss happened to know someone at a toy company in San Gabriel.

Wham-O picked up the manufacturing rights and, at the 1961 Toy Fair Trade Show in NYC, they launched the “Wham-O Slip ‘N Slide Magic Waterslide.”

By September, more than 300,000 units had sold.

Of course, modifications have been made over the years to address safety concerns – and it’s now only recommended up to age 12 (try to enforce that at a college dorm). But the tale of the Slip ‘N Slide shows no signs of ending anytime soon.

One thing you don’t want to see Slip Slidin’ Away is your retirement portfolio.

To make sure it’s safe and sound, give me a call at 513-563-PLAN (7526) or book online.


Nikki Earley, CFP®