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The Yellow Rubber Duck

Today Thinking Color recently learned of an obscure holiday celebrating one of the most colorful and memorable objects from our collective childhoods.  January 13th was officially “National Rubber Ducky Day”. Since Thinking Color was pretty hard on the color yellow last week we thought it might be a good idea to make amends by celebrating the history of this colorful icon.


The first yellow rubber ducks appeared in the late 1800’s and were made of Goodyear Vulcanized rubber, produced just down the road in Akron, Ohio. In fact the minor league baseball team based in Akron has been known as the “Rubber Ducks” since 2013.


In 1933 Disney began producing the now iconic rubber ducks out of latex which allowed them to float, a characteristic that would become familiar to all of us.


The ability of our little yellow friends to float has not just made bathtime more exciting for the last century but is now being used for cutting edge science. In 1992 a container filled with 30,000 of the little yellow toys was washed overboard during a violent pacific storm. Since then they have been washing up on beaches across the world allowing scientists to study ocean currents. In 2008 a NASA research team studying glacial melting in Greenland experienced the failure of some of their high-tech research equipment. As a solution the team decided to release ninety rubber ducks into the heart of the glacier to see where they would end up. To this day none of the ducks have been found.


Childhood icon, and scientific tool the humble yellow duck certainly does deserve it’s own holiday.

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