Friday, December 31, 2010


The photos are relative to an earlier post (#9) where I talked about the fact that the neighborhood kids would give charity events to raise money for the Fresh Air Fund in our backyard. These are photos from one such event and show Joey Gaetano, Phillip Chaberry, and Darlene Horner, among others.

(Note: Would be best to read - This is what I know (which is the oldest post) - and then read from 1 to 11.)

In a Forbes Magazine article entitled STAYING POWER, by Paul B. Brown, the author states that the reason for the "slip" in sales after 1976 was that the new "company took Silly Putty for granted". The company's "sales force was selling lots of other products and really wasn't concentrating on it". Brown notes that because of its price Silly Putty is an "impulse purchase" or a "shut up" toy. This is because "a mother gives it to the kid in the store and says "Here, shut up!" ". My father would have loved that quote. In fact, I'm sure he said it to me every now and then.

The book WORLD OF INVENTION calls Silly Putty "one of the most successful toys ever marketed in the United States". That statement makes me want to burst with pride.

It wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that my father lived his life for two things and two things only. Those two things were his family and Silly Putty. Daddy died of a cerebral hemorrhage one month before his fiftieth birthday. Before that, I am told, he had not taken a day off, not even on Sundays, for over seven years.

EXTRAORDINARY ORIGINS OF EVERYDAY THINGS by Charles Panatti, Harper and Row Publishers, 1987.
WORLD OF INVENTION, Gale Research, Inc. 1994, page 554.


MacGregor Kilpatrick - March 26, 1997
Juanita Haynes - March 25, 1997
Alfred Horner
Alice Haynes Horner


When my dad died in June of 1976, Silly Putty and Arnold Clark had been experiencing some of their best years. Silly Putty had grown to be a multi-million dollar company. I remember daddy telling me a week before he died that they were doing a booming business in Africa.

Someone else "invented" Silly Putty (exactly who is, apparently, disputed*). Pete had the brilliant idea to market it as a toy. Pete built the brand. But I think my dad played a very major part in building the company into a multi-million dollar business as it was he who was in charge of the day to day business of Silly Putty. My dad was all about routine, consistency, loyalty, and attention to detail. Willie Ruff said that "Pete was candid about the fact that Bill was the engine that steered the whole thing" and Mr. Ruff commented that "Bill was the man". Mr. Ruff also indicated that in the early days "Bill was running the show on Temple Street".

In researching this subject I am hearing about more of the folks who were involved in Silly Putty and talking to these people is fascinating. I am just now getting the adult perspective. I just hope that it is not too late to speak with many of the people who were involved in this silly enterprise.

Right after my dad died, I believe that Pete took over the day to day operation of the business. Two months later he was also dead. My father never owned a portion of the company. I'm not sure if he was ever offered ownership in the company. He received a salary. His salary was substantial for the times, it fueled a nice lifestyle for our family, and I am sure that he had no complaints. However, his salary as Vice President and General Manager was nothing like what it would have been if he had shared ownership of the company. Upon his death, Pete et al had turned the initial $147.00 investment into a $140 million dollar estate.

I heard that after 1976 and the sale of the company, the sales plummeted. I have no way of knowing if this is true or not. What I do know is that Pete, Mac, and Dad ran Silly Putty like a family business. I mean this in the sense of a company where the family loves the product and therefore really takes care of the product. There was a predictability about the product. I think that is where dad's influence came into play. I am reminded of the cliche' that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Silly Putty was always the same color. It was always in a bi-color egg (other than the silver egg).

I remember when Silly Putty later appeared in different colors and I was slightly horrified. Then there was a glitter version. Recently I noticed it was no longer in a bi-color egg.

In an article entitled SILLY PUTTY CELEBRATES ITS 40TH IN A BLAZE OF COLOR by James Barron (New York Times, February 15, 1990) the author states that "After 40 years of nothing but your basic bloblike pinkish beige, Silly Putty is diversifying . It introduced four new colors .. at the .. Toy Fair". It continues "Binney & Smith ... is boasting that it has been around longer than other toy classics like the Barbie doll, the Hula Hoop, or Slinky" and that "So far, 3,000 tons of Silly Putty have been sold - enough to fill 200 million plastic eggshells or circle the earth at the equator three times. Without stretching".

I have not bought Silly Putty for my grandson. I'm sure that at some point I will. In an article entitled Silly Putty Doesn't Work Anymore by Owen Holmes (Folio Weekly, August 1, 2006) he states that "the comics trick is a thing of the past because of changes in ink formulas and a
switch to "cold" printing processes" and "the ink transfer no longer works with newspapers Sunday comic pages". Holmes says "" ... "makes it clear that it's the newspapers that have changed, not the putty". Holmes quotes a toy store owner who was lamenting that "one of Silly Putty's most popular functions is becoming a thing of the past".

In 2001, Silly Putty was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The Smithsonian Institute had an exhibit of Silly Putty (Material World Exhibit). 2005.

* See Mr. Murray Berdick's letter to the editor of the New York Times - 1/19/1992 (which followed the article "Silly Putty, Now a Classic" - 12/29/1991)

This was my dad's official business photo for Silly Putty. He took this photo in 1964.
My dad's greatgrandparents on both paternal sides were enslaved in West Virginia (Mansfield and Eliza Dawson Haynes & Martha Payne Haynes (and either Burton Payne or Solomon Haynes*)). His greatgrandparents on his maternal side included a woman who was enslaved and an unknown white male. His other maternal greatgrandparents were Caucasian with the male being descended from Cyriacus Fleischman of the Alsace Lorraine area (see story about him on the net). His grandfather, George W. Haynes was born during slavery and his grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Payne Haynes Haynes Lewis was born shortly after emancipation. His maternal grandmother was born after emancipation but her mother had been enslaved. His paternal grandfather was Harry Suthcliff Cooper who was a white male and the owner of the Lewisburg Hotel in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia. His grandfather, George Washington Haynes was a "mulatto" stonemason, carpenter of Monroe County, WV and my father inherited these skills. He was an amazing carpenter though he only did that as an avocation. His paternal grandmother Elizabeth was a Black & possibly partly Native American seamstress also from Monroe County, George and Elizabeth were also farmers and they had 14 children (including school teachers, a barber, a podiatrist, a violinist, an actress/musician, and laborers). One of these 14 children was his father, William "Hubert" Haynes who was a chauffeur for the Steinbach's of New Haven. The Steinbach's were printers. Their daughter, Francis Steinbach, married Dr. Arthur Weil and Hubert would drive Dr. Weil from the Greenbrier Resort to New Haven**. His paternal grandfather was Harry Suthcliff Cooper (a white male who was the owner of the Lewisburg Hotel in Greenbrier County, W.V.) His paternal grandmother was Mary Alice Knight (a domestic servant & laundress). His mother was Dora "Jane" Kelly Knight Lee Haynes Midder (who worked for the Block Shop & who also worked - most likely as a domestic servant / laundress - for Professor Rollin Osterweiss (cultural historian & author of the definitive history on New Haven), or for the family of same (cigar makers)). He married twice, to my mother, Juanita, and then to Judith Snipes. He had four daughters, me (Carol Haynes), Patricia (Jones) Haynes, Dawn (who is a celebrity stylist & owns/operates Dawn 2 Dusk Agency of Los Angeles), and Sandra Haynes Thomas. He had two stepsons, James and David Snipes***. He lived his entire life in New Haven and Branford and he is buried in Branford.
* Because of slavery it is not known if we are descended from Burton Payne (who was sold off around the time of Martha's pregnancy with Elizabeth) or Solomon Haynes who she married on July 4, 1865 (immediately after emancipation -but possibly before enslaved individuals were emancipated in West Virginia as emancipation in Northern states came later than in the south).
** Francis Steinbach Weil died on 2/4/1974 in Palm Beach, Florida. She was "of 307 St. Rohan Street, New Haven, Ct." She was the wife of Dr. Arthur Weil and she was the daughter of Abdul D. and Raye Hoffman Steinbach. See New York Times, 2/7/74.
*** David is a writer and he has lived in Egypt for many years.
(For more information on Southeast West Virginia genealogy see my other blog at - African American Genealogy - West Virginia)


The little girl in front of the Christmas tree is me at about 4 1/2 years old. It is obvious that this is a toy business family!!!

Our house was not nearly as grand as "The Hill" (although it may have been in the Hill section of New Haven). We had lived from 1953 until 1962 at 65 Asylum Street, in a wonderful ethnic neighborhood (mostly Italians from Naples and Jewish families*) which was near Yale New Haven Hospital and the Jewish business district on Legion Avenue. We had a tiny two story house. We lived on the second floor and Aunt Alice and her family lived on the first floor. Our two families were the only two Black families in the neighborhood. I don't think I even knew about this race distinction (i.e., that there were different "colors") as a child. I only knew that different families ate different foods (the Gaetanos, Gambardellis, and Rubinos ate spaghetti with clam sauce, the Rosens ate lox and bagels, we ate lima beans and ham). Colors were for clothes, and flowers, and crayons.

Since dad was in the toy business we had the best yard. We had a log cabin, a large swing set, a pole to which a ball was attached by a thin rope and you would try to keep your opponent from hitting the ball with his paddle and winding the string around the pole, and another piece of play equipment which had four seats which you would pump back and forth to make the whole thing spin. We also had a "stage" where we would put on our annual productions (ballet, accordion playing, tap dance, baton twirling ... some of the performers were Joseph Gaetano, Darlene Horner, Phillip Chaberry, Michael Iarolla, me). We would charge a fee and give the proceeds to New Haven's Fresh Air Fund. Dad built a stereo system and he would help us with the music which accompanied our various acts. The newspaper would always come out and do a story.

The benefit of having a father in the toy business was that you always had plenty of toys (and especially after toy shows, at Christmas, or when you lost a tooth).

Once when I lost a tooth I got a complete Annie Oakley costume (with hat, holster, gun, and boots). But this was unusual. Normally I just received a dime or a quarter when I would lose one of my teeth.

Another advantage of having a father in the toy business was that he knew people. I was extremely impressed when he came home from a toy show in New York and announced that he had met Shari Lewis and Lambchops.

Around 1962 my father found a house at 341 Norton Street. Restrictive covenants against Blacks were in place at the time. Macgregor "Mac" Kilpatrick somehow arranged to buy the house for us (and hide the fact that the real buyers were Black) so that the neighbors (Jewish folks who themselves had recently had to deal with such covenants) would not guess that we were moving in. All went well once we were ensconced in the neighborhood, however. We were soon well liked members of the neighborhood. Everyone always adored my mother. I babysat for everyone.

I must have been about 11 or 12 when Pete appeared on the game show - WHAT'S MY LINE. We all gathered around the t.v. Dad was beaming and we feared that he would burst with pride. I can't remember if the panel guessed correctly that he was the person who was responsible for the development of the toy called "Silly Putty".

Throughout my childhood I would go to the plant in North Branford* with my father. My closest moments with my father were actually at the manufacturing plant. Accounts say that the plant was in a converted barn. To me it looked more like a sturdy cinder block rectangular two story building. My father worked every Saturday. I grew up dancing every Saturday. However, when I went with him to the plant it was, ostensibly, so that I could help him with the clerical work. Usually, a bit after I got there I would go outside to play. The plant was in a heavily wooded area. Near the plant was a little pond where, when I was in grade school, I would collect tadpoles for show and tell at school. Our class would watch the tadpoles evolve into frogs. Once my dad built a trap for me and we caught a woodchuck. We brought it back to Asylum Street and kept it for a few days and then he brought it back to the plant and let it loose.

I remember the plant well. Many big barrels of putty and a conveyer belt down the middle of the floor. Although my dad was obsessively neat there were always piles of orders on his big desk. My father was the person who taught me how to type. I spent hours typing "The big brown fox jumped over the lazy dog". Dad had only daughters and he would tell us (facetiously) that if we could type, and read the stock market pages, and read the racing form that we would always be financially o.k. He taught me how to do all three before I was twelve years old.

The Silly Putty eggs were sealed with a piece of plastic that got smaller and adhered when heat was applied. Silly Putty was sold by the gross and every time I hear the word gross I think of the number 144. I remember Silly Putty being 5/8th of an ounce. Mac said it ws 5/8 of an ounce. Others say it was an ounce. I can't say that we played with Silly Putty a lot because it was always there. Each Easter my dad would bring a load of Silly Putty to a convent or church a little ways out of town. He would always leave me in the car so I don't know what the story was behind that.

For my part, I spent a lot of my young life wishing that my father had chosen another career. I wondered why he hadn't used his skills to do something useful. I couldn't understand, for instance, why he hadn't opened a bakery since we were both crazy about sweets. Or, better yet, he could have owned a pizza parlor. I asked him about this once and for an answer I can only remember a blank stare (or it might have been a glare).

In 1968 Silly Putty went to the moon with the Apollo 8 astronauts. I had imagined that it had just gone in an egg and for no apparent reason. I read today that it actually had a use. It held tools in place. I'm sure my dad handled that transaction - or maybe Pete. By that time I was out of town and in college so I don't remember my father talking about that event.

* The families that I can remember were: Gaetano, Gambardella, Iarolla, Rubino, Chaberry, Mastipicci, Rosen, Abeshouse, Lender (the bagel makers), Ruff (a jewish family - see book by Allen Ruff about this neighborhood - Save Me, Julie Kogon - though I believe that the Black Ruff family may have also lived in this area - but we were the only Black family in our immediate surroundings that I remember). The Jewish Home for the Aged was on one corner (about four houses from our house).

* indicates that the plant was on Totoket Road in North Branford (a Connecticut Crossroads article by John Lacy).

This picture was taken at Pete and Margaret Hodgson's house, "The Hill"* in Madison, CT.,probably around 1961. From left to right is my father, William Henry Haynes, in the hat, with me, Carol Haynes, in front of him with the scarf. Then Clarence Butcher (a New Haven tailor & dad's best friend), his wife Delores Butcher (niece of civil rights advocate & Judge Constance Baker Motley), my mom, Juanita "Nita" Haynes, Margaret Weaver Hodgson (Pete's wife), and the tall girl is Andrea Butcher, the little boy in front is Clarence "Skip" Butcher, and the girl to the far right is my sister, Patricia Haynes. Pete must be taking the picture!!
* Now Legend Hill Condominiums indicates that the house was located on "88 partially wooded acres".


In the 1950's, Pete formed a marketing company called ARNOLD CLARK, INC. I was never sure how this name was chosen until Willie Ruff explained it in a January 3, 2011 interview. Apparently, the corporation Arnold Clark was an existing corporation (named for Joseph Arnold, d. 3/18/2010 & a Mr. Clark). They were looking for a buyer. Macgregor "Mac" Kilpatrick arranged for Peter Hodgson, Sr. to buy this existing corporation (which would be cheaper than starting a new corporation). Thus, Arnold Clark became a corporation under Pete's control. My father and Mac were also Vice Presidents of this company. Dad's Connecticut license plate read "ACVP".

My dad attended (and may have even graduated from) Stone Business College but he didn't have a marketing degree. That didn't stop him from dabbling in the experimental aspects of "marketing". One of my dad's favorite marketing experiments was to place a toy on top of the refrigerator and see how long it would take for us to ask to play with it. Then he would watch to see how long we would play with it. I'm not sure whether he marketed these toys or not, but some of the toys he experimented with were hula hoops, slinkys, yo-yos, and kites. It would have been hard to miss a hula hoop that was sitting on top of the fridge.

There were offices of Arnold Clark in Toronto, San Juan, and Germany. Mac told me that the offices, for the most part, were only manned by a sales representative.

William "Bill" Henry Haynes obituary - New York Times

Dad as a child (c. 1927) and another obit.

William H. Haynes, vice president and a director of Arnold Clark, Inc. of New Haven and Frankfurt, West Germany, died yesterday of a heart attack at his home, 47 Riverside Drive, Branford, Conn. His age was 50.
Mr. Haynes had started as a shipping clerk 25 years ago with the company which manufactures a toy called Silly Putty, a moldable and bounceable product.
Survivors include his wife, the former Judith Farnham, four daughters, Carol Spooner, Patricia, Dawn, and Sandra, two stepsons, David and James Snipes, and four sisters.

** the obit is inaccurate in some respects. Dad died at age 49, on June 2, 1976. He would have been 50 the next month on July 2, 1976. My mother, Juanita Haynes, (his first wife) is not mentioned in the obit.


I would not be able to adequately explain the close relationship between our families, or how it was that Peter Hodgson, Sr. came to treat Dad like a son or how it was that Dad came to be Macgregor Kilpatrick's best friend for many years.

My father had an amazing sense of humor. He was a loyal friend even though he had a very small and close circle of friends, mostly family members.

One reason for the close association and trust may have been my father's value as an employee and co-worker. He had an incredible work ethic.

One of my most vivid memories of my father is from the time of a severe snow storm in Connecticut in 1957 or 1958. The entire city was shut down. The radio was urging people to stay at home and off of the streets. Our house at 65 Asylum Street was quite a distance* from my father's office at 424 Temple Street near the New Haven "green". Despite the warnings, dad got up that morning like he always did and got dressed in pants and a shirt and tie. Then he put on some boots. I walked to the front of our house to look out at the street. For as far as the eye could see (which was about to the end of the block) there was an undisturbed blanket of snow. The drifts had partialy obscured the cars. My father appeared below, waved up to me, and then trudged down the street. That image had an effect on me. I rarely miss a day of work.

* Mapquest gives the mileage as 1.58 miles.

This is my mother, Juanita Haynes, lounging by Pete and Margaret's pool. ? c. 1962.


Around the time that I figured out that my parents might be Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny, I also concluded that Pete must be God. My parents were not great church goers or church members and we didn't get a lot of instruction on the "God" issue at home. My father would go to church on Palm Sunday so as not to appear in church only on Easter. My mother had been ex-communicated from the Catholic church because she married my father - who was a Protestant. Because of the fact that she had been kicked out of a church that she had attended dutifully since she was an infant - just because she happened to fall in love with a man who wasn't Catholic - she became disillusioned about religion and never really resumed a genuine interest in the subject. If she went to church it was probably only so that she could be around other people and because it provided an opportunity to dress up.

Our church was an amazing church with an equally amazing preacher, Reverend Edmonds, who was a Professor at the Yale Divinity School. Even that - or the fact that all of his other family members were regular church goers - didn't entice my father to regularly attend church. My sister and I would be dropped off in front of Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church (formerly Temple Church - sometimes known as the Amistad Church) for Sunday school. Then we would be picked up. Occasionally we would go to church with the aunts, or Uncle Booster, or with my dad (on Palm Sunday and Easter).

I believed everything my father told me unless I could actually see for myself that he was wrong. He never mentioned God.

My mom, despite her lapsed Catholicism, would insist that we say our prayers (thanking God for the food that he had provided) every night before eating supper. My father would normally go along with the program but every now and again he would offer that it was actually he and Pete who had put the food on the table. I continue to have "faith" issues. I still don't know who God is and just hope that there is one.


Pete and his second wife, Margaret Weaver Hodgson, lived in a cobblestone mansion on eighty one acres of land in Madison, Connecticut (See photo above). The property was called "The Hill"*. We spent a great deal of our childhood on the Hill. When Pete and Margaret were out of the country we would sometimes spend up to a week there. It was an idyllic, peaceful and storybook setting.

Pete and Margaret never locked their doors. They figured that if anyone really wanted anything that they owned that they would find a way to get in. Even when they left for long trips in Europe they would leave the doors open and the keys in their cars. When we would arrive at the house we would just walk through the pool side doors and settle in. Pete drove a Mercedes roadster. It was either grey, or brown, I can't remember which, with blood red interior. The dash was real wood. I still remember seeing Pete from time to time driving near Yale with the top down on the Mercedes and a pipe hanging from his mouth. When I was around 8 or 9 I would go into the garage and just sit in the Mercedes for long periods of time. I liked the way it smelled. Margaret drove a VW bug. They also had a tractor which I would sometimes back out of and into the driveway when I was a young teen. It was the first time I ever drove a standard shift.

The property had a tennis court, a pool, a side of the house where you had breakfast and another side where you had lunch and dinner. My favorite room, the living room, was like a small cathedral. It had french style glass panes all around and it was two to three stories high. It seemed as big as a basketball court. Pete was a music buff and there were what seemed like a million albums lined all around the perimeter of the room. When we were there we heard mostly classical and jazz. But music was always bouncing off of the walls. I can't really remember ever watching T.V. although there was a t.v. in "our" room upstairs. There was mostly music, food, cocktails for the adults (7 & 7 was my dad's drink), books to read by the pool, and conversation.

The two (or possibly three) car garage was topped by an apartment. The best thing about the garage was the freezer which was always well stocked with ice cream.

Pete owned a four seat, prop plane. Once he took dad, Pat, and me up and we flew over the Hill. Margaret and my mother were standing below waving.

When I called the Madison Historical Society in early January 2011, they indicated that Pete's property was called Legend Hill. I had never heard that name before. For us it was always simply "The Hill". Others have called the house the Silly Putty mansion. I had never heard it called that either.

Pete and Margaret's home has now become the Legend Hill Condominiums in Madison, Connecticut. It may have an historic home designation. "Our " bedroom was on the second floor, pool side, closest to the garage, over the kitchen and pool side door.

* Now Legend Hill Condominiums in Madison, Connecticut


Silly Putty was always simply a fact of my life*. The New Yorker magazine says that Pete started with fifteen workers. Mom remembers that it was mostly just dad and Pete working at the back of the toy store during Christmas rush while she helped to wrap gifts*. And Mac said (when I interviewed him some years ago) that they always had anywhere from one to thirty employees. So, apparently, the company was started on a rather small scale.

For as long as I can remember my father was the manager of production for the company. In the 50's he was the General Manager. This fact was corroborated by Mac who says that my father "was responsible for every 5/8 ounce of Silly Putty that was ever put out" until his death and then the sale of the company shortly thereafter. Mac adds that dad was the central link in obtaining the putty and producing the product and that he did all of the production and was responsible for hiring and estimating crew. In a telephone interview with Willie Ruff on January 3, 2011, he indicated that my dad "started in a very menial position and rose to the position of Vice President" of what became known as Silly Putty Marketing, Inc. For most of my younger years he was always the General Manager. Mom says that Dad was the person who came up with the ideas about production. She says that he went "all over the world" looking for better and faster machines. It appears that Pete must have handled the side of the business which dealt with marketing and advertising (in fact, Willie Ruff describes him as the "idea man"). Mac was probably the Vice President in charge of Sales and since Dad was a V.P. he must have been the Vice President in charge of Production.

I had always thought there were two possible versions to the story of my father's position in the company. One version was that Dad started off high up in the chain, a collaborator on par with Pete. This version made me wonder how a 24 year old, black man (remember it was the 195o's) was privy to such a wonderful opportunity. The second version was that he worked his way up. I now know that it was the second version - he worked his way up**. This makes sense in light of the role of our family members at the Block Shop. The second version makes sense also if the early participants in the company were Pete, Dad, and Yale students. While the Yale students would work part time and then go off to finish their studies and start their careers, dad may have been the only full-time employee for whom the job would have been a constant.

Ruth Fallgatter was very close to my family. Many were her employees. My aunt Alice worked for her at the Block Shop for 17 years (until the day the store closed because of competition from big box stores). It seems logical that Pete would want to also work with our family members. It was a great match - an idea man and a young, loyal, stable and industrious man who wasn't afraid of hard work.

* Willie Ruff indicated that Pete had an aristocratic bearing and he was not going to be cutting putty and placing it in eggs. So my mom might be mistaken when she said "it was mostly just dad and Pete". Willie said there were notices at one time around Yale looking for students (right after the Toy Fair). My mother, at any rate, was a housewife and wouldn't have been in the position to know what happened at my father's workplace on a day to day basis. This may have just been her observation when she helped out at the toy store during that particular Christmas season.
** To say he "worked his way up", though, is somewhat deceiving because there would have been no one between him and Peter. Mac and dad were travelling up the ladder on parallel paths - with very different roles. Mac, however, was already a lawyer. Mac never "supervised" Dad though. They did entirely different things. (Though Mac recounted a story about how they would go to the toy fairs together).
* This is a picture of me when we were probably about ready to move from New Bedford to New Haven. See the pile of toys on the right side of the crib! It is apparent that my family worked in a toy shop!

4. Macgregor "Mac" Kilpatrick

Sometime thereafter, Macgregor "Mac" Kilpatrick had recently graduated from Yale's Law School. He was taking (or had just taken) the bar examination and he needed some income. He placed a clever ad in the New Haven Register and Peter responded to the ad and called "Mac" into his "office" for an interview. At the office Mac met Pete and my dad. He was hired and he began to travel around the country to sell the product. Over the years, Mac and my dad became very close friends. When I interviewed Mac on March 26, 1997, he told me that my dad was his "best friend for many years". Macgregor Kilpatrick died five months after I interviewed him.
I will always think of Pete, Mac, and Dad like a three legged stool. I can't imagine how the business would have operated without the three of them each doing their separate part.

For a photo of Macgregor Kilpatrick see This article indicates that Mac was inducted into the American Hockey League's Hall of Fame in 2010. The AHL page states that "After the war, Kilpatrick earned a degree from Yale Law School and settled in the New Haven, Connecticut area forming his own law firm and becoming a probate judge. His entrepreneurism and marketing savvy got him involved in the promotion of a new product called Silly Putty, now an American classic toy". The article continues that he was the "owner of an American Hockey League franchise in New Haven that would begin play in 1972 ... the New Haven Nighthawks". The American Hockey League created the Macgregor Kilpatrick Trophy in 1997". Mac died in 1997 (in South Carolina) at age 81.
Another page on the internet reveals that Mac was a member of the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 1939. This page states that Mac was the "Vice President and General Manager of Silly Putty Co., of which he was co-founder and develper".

So Pete, Mac, and Dad were all Navy men.


Mac's photo appears in the U.S. Naval Academy Annapolis Yearbook ("Lucky Bag Yearbook").
The Social Security Death Index indicates that he was born on 7/30/1916 and died on 8/30/1977 at Hilton Head, South Carolina.


Almost immediately after the party at Ruth Fallgatter's, Pete Hodgson, Sr. asked my dad to help him out by quitting his steady factory job in New Bedford and coming to New Haven to work for the relatively new "business". Pete would often recount how my father turned up for the official interview in a "zoot suit". They were both somewhat prone to telling me "stories" so I'm not sure if this was true. I'm sure my father looked great, even if he was dressed inappropriately for an "interview" because Daddy was always "clean". Also, even though the meeting was characterized as an "interview", Pete was already very familiar with my family and he knew my father well.
I often wondered what my mother was thinking when my father came home and told her that he was going to quit his job as a machinist and that we were going to move back to New Haven so that he could manage Pete's new business - a business, mind you, that involved selling a bounceable malleable rubber substance as a toy. My mother, being typical of the "good" wives of the day, aparently said "o.k." and they packed up and moved to New Haven. My mom says that since they didn't have any money they lived with my Grandma Jane in a three bedroom cottage at 261 Day Street with at least two other adults and two other children.

The top right photo is of my dad, William "Bill" Henry Haynes, and my mother, Juanita "Nita" Haynes and me in the carriage. The bottom photo is of my mom and dad. My mom is holding me. The boy is a Cape Verdean family friend. Both photos are taken in New Bedford. The second photo must have been taken right before we moved back to New Haven.

In New Bedford, my dad had been immersed in the Cape Verdean culture as we lived in the south end of New Bedford (and my mother is Cape Verdean). My grandmother didn't really speak a lot of English. It must have been a culture shock for my father to live in New Bedford and then a culture shock for my mother to move to New Haven.


Through the Block Shop my father came into association with Peter Hodgson, Sr. "Pete" was an advertising copywriter. Ruth Fallgatter, who owned the Block Shop, had hired Pete to put together the Block Shop catalog.

As the story goes, Pete went to a party at Ruth's in 1949. Also in attendance was James Wright, an engineer for General Electric. General Electric had been approached by the U.S. War Production Board who was "seeking an inexpensive substitute for synthetic rubber" to be "used in the mass production of jeep and airplane tires, gas masks, and a wide variety of military gear". "James Wright was assigned" to work on this project. (See Extraordinary below). One such substance, which had no readily apparent use, was a silicone rubber substance which "bounced" and which G.E. dubbed "nutty putty" . Mr. Wright brought some of the substance to the party and the participants entertained themselves with it throughout the night. Pete came up with the idea of marketing the substance as a toy. Although he was already in debt he borrowed another $147.00 and with that amount purchased a number of pounds of the product from G.E.. (Extraordinary). Pete initially hired a Yale student, John Palmer*, to cut the silicone rubber and place it in containers. Later, other Yale students were hired and they were put to work at the Block Shop. One version of Silly Putty's early history states that somehow the drabness of Easter entered Pete's mind and he decided to market the product in two tone plastic eggs. At first the novelty toy was sold to Yale students and then to residents of the New Haven community.
The 1950 Block Shop catalog yielded great results. Some accounts say that Silly Putty was the second best selling item in the 1950 edition of the catalog being beat out only by Crayola's hexagonal crayons. My aunt , who worked there at the time, was very surprised by that account. She doesn't remember that they sold mostly crayons.

I have the 1950 Block Shop catalog. On page 24 there is an ad for SARGENT CRAYONS. The ad says "Box of 32 hexagonal crayons in a wide range of colors including unusual ones like bronze and silver. A much-in-demand set. $.50, shipping weight, 1/4 lb". On page 25 there is an ad for Silly Putty. The ad says "(not illustrated, naturally). Plastic madness. It's a sort of liquid. You roll it around in the palms of your hands until it becomes a ball. You drop it on the floor and it bounces higher than a rubber ball. Stretch it quickly and it breaks ... slowly, and it pulls like taffy. Hit it with a hammer and it shatters like glass. Lay it over your newspaper and it picks up the print perfectly. Leave it alone and it melts into a tired little puddle. See? One handful $2.oo, postage .15cents".
(So at least initially, Silly Putty WAS $2.00 - though I can only remember it being $1.00).

Sargent Crayons are listed again on the inside back cover of the 1950 catalog in THE BLOCK SHOP LITTLE STORE with the statement "The purpose of this page is to provide a source of little but highly desirable toys for the many occasions when they are important. These are the odd - time presents: rewards, gifts that children give children, stowaway presents against emergencies, favors, or necessary moral boosters". On the bottom of this page it says: Produced by Peter Hodgson. Art Direction - Ellsworth G. Thompson, Illustrated by Romney Gay**, Photograph - James Pickands, II, Retouching - Bob Quick.

Silly Putty was not listed in the Block Shop Little Store.

In the book, Extraordinary Origins of Everday Things, by Charles Panatti he says "That year, in 1949, Silly Putty outsold every other item in Hodgson's toy store". (Panatti is wrong on one count - Pete didn't own the Block Shop). Pete placed Silly Putty in a number of outlets. Most notably, he received an order from Nieman Marcus who had decided to sell the substance in silver eggs. Silly Putty started in 1949. I was born in 1949. So, Silly Putty and I were "hatched" in the same year.

I found out later that Willie Ruff arrived in New Haven to start at Yale in 1949.

* I believe the name John Palmer came from an interview with my uncle, Alfred "Booster" Horner.
** Romney Gay appears to have been a children's book writer. See "The Romney Gay Mother Goose" Book, 1936, Grosset & Dunlap.

Extraordinary (p. 380) indicates that "And once mass produced, it became an overnight sensation, racking up sales during the 50's and 60's of over six million dollars a year".

Extraordinary also states that "Americans wrote to the manufacturer of their own uses .. Though the list was endless, no one then or now discovered a really practical application for the unsuccessful rubber substitute" (but see the Apollo 8 application).

Information for this section also comes from :
EXTRAORDINARY ORIGINS OF EVERYDAY THINGS, by Charles Panatti, pages379 & 380 (1987). Mr. Panatti indicates that Pete was the owner of the Block Shop. He was not the owner. The owner was Ruth Fallgatter.
HERE TO STAY: DOUBLEDAY SHOP SELLS SILLY PUTTY - New Yorker, August 26, 1950, pages 19-20.
Notes: I will attempt to find the early articles and come back and attribute quotes appropriately.


My father, William "Bill" Henry Haynes, had left the U.S. Navy (submarine service) and was working as a machinist at Morse Twist Drill in New Bedford, Massachusetts when I was born in 1949. My mother, Juanita, was a housewife. I came home to my first house which was owned by my cape verdean grandparents, Maria and Joao Antao (John Anthony) Santos. The house was located at 144 Purchase Street in the "south end" of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

During the same time period, my Step-grandfather, Wesley Obery Midder, and my aunt Alice (Alice Horner), who was my dad's sister, were working at the BLOCK SHOP, a toy store in my father's hometown, New Haven, Connecticut. My grandmother, Dora "Jane" Kelly Knight Lee Haynes Midder, had also worked there for a short time. (Grandma Jane also worked, as a domestic servant, for the cultural historian Rollin Osterweiss (who wrote the definitive history of New Haven)). Wes was in charge of stock at the Block Shop and Aunt Alice was the secretary but also had some management duties. Prior to marrying my mom and moving to New Bedford, my father also had an association with the Block Shop. He had worked there stocking toys either before or after his tour with the Navy.

The Block Shop was a wonderland for any child. The store, which was owned by a woman named Ruth Fallgatter*, was located in (what I remember to have looked like) an old red schoolhouse. It was next door to Stone Business College at 58 Wall Street. There were three floors stocked to the rafters with every conceivable type of toy**. My Aunt Alice was partly responsible for the sale of Madame Alexander dolls. My little life, consequently, was littered with Madame Alexander dolls in their trademark blue boxes with little pink roses.

Yale University was close to, if not directly across the street from, the Block Shop. In fact, the University pretty much took up the entire center of the town.

*The Social Security Death Index reveals that Ruth Fallgatter was born on March 12, 1912. She died in February, 1971. Her social security card was issued in Connecticut. Her death zip code was 06517 - which was Hamden/New Haven/Whitneyville, Connecticut.

** The 1950 Block Shop Catalog describes the building as having six rooms.

BRANFORD - William H. Haynes, vice president and a director of Arnold Clark, Inc. the company that manufactures and distributes Silly Putty, died at his home Wednesday, June 2, 1976 of a heart attack. Mr. Haynes, 50, was the husband of Judith Haynes of 47 Riverside Drive.
Born in New Haven, the son of Jane and Hubert Haynes of West Virginia, ran the firm's North Branford plant where Silly Putty is manufactured. He was also general manager of Marketing, Inc., Silly Putty's sale and distribution outlet in 22 countries. He was vice president of Marketoy (Canada) Ltd. (the manufacturing and sales company for Silly Putty in Canada).
Mr. Haynes graduated frm the Stone Business College in New Haven and served in the U.S. Navy in the Submarine Division during World War II.
He had been with Arnold Clark, Inc. since it was first organized in New Haven 25 years ago. From his start with the Peter Hodgson organization as shipping clerk, he advanced through the years to become vice president and as an executive supervised the manufacture, distribution, and sales that built Silly Putty into a multi-million dollar industry.
Besides his wife, he leaves four daughters, Carol Spooner of Boston; Patricia Haynes of Inglewood, California; Dawn Haynes of New Bedford, Mass; and Sandra Haynes of Branford, two stepsons, David and James Snipes of Branford; and four sisters, Mrs. Ethel Ralls, Mrs. Mary Bell, and Mrs. Alice Horner, all of New Haven, and Mrs. Edna Brown of Lewisburg, W.Va.
Services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Dixwell United Church of Christ, 217 Dixwell Avenue. Burial will be in Branford Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are in care of Keyes-Williams Funeral Home.
The 1930 U.S. Census for New Haven, Connecticut indicates that William H. Haynes was a "Negro", age 3, at the time of the census. He was the son of Hubert Haynes (33), a chauffeur for a private family and Jane Haynes (29), who was not working. Also in the household are his siblings, Mary (11) and Alice (4) and his maternal grandmother, Mary McVeigh (45 - born about 1885).

This is What I Know

My father, William Henry "Bill" Haynes, ran Silly Putty Marketing (aka Arnold Clark) for most of his life*. His name, however, never shows up anywhere in the written history of Silly Putty. This would be fine for him as he was a humble man. He taught us not to toot our own horns. We never bragged about his accomplishments.
About two years ago I added a comment to the Silly Putty Wikipedia entry saying that my father had been the Vice President of Silly Putty and I gave a few facts. Today when I looked at Wikipedia my statement was still on but it asked for a citation. It said that if a citation was not provided that my comment might be discarded and that I should defend myself on the discussion page.
I decided that if no one else would recognize my dad's accomplishments then perhaps I must. This is the reason for this page.
I welcome anyone who knew anything about Silly Putty from 1949 to 1976 to comment here. As a child I spent a lot of time at the plant in North Branford, less time, only once that I can remember, at the administrative office (424 Temple Street) near Yale and the "green" - New Haven's town center.
I am an attorney by profession and I understand Wikipedia's need for citations and fact checking. But what I know about Silly Putty is not from any book. It was my life.
My father, William Henry Haynes, was a Black man. That he hooked up with Peter Hodgson, and later MacGregor Kilpatrick, seems odd now, not so much then, when I was a child.
That a Black man managed the company for so many years is not a big surprise to me. They say that there is a woman behind every man and I have found that a lot of times there is a Black man or Black woman there too.
My comments in this blog may not be susceptible to fact checking. They are the memories of a woman who, as a child, lived daily with the workings of Silly Putty.

* from 1950 to 1976

Carol Haynes
New Orleans