What does one do to accept the challenge of beating the blistering, record breaking heat expected on Thursday? Why, slip slidin' away, of course.

The Slip 'N Slide turns SIXTY this year! The brainchild of a California dude, Robert Carrier, an upholsterer at a boat manufacturing plant by trade, who came home from work one smokin' hot summer afternoon in 1960 and found his 10-year old son and his friends turning the hose on the house's painted driveway that was providing a pretty decent surface. After thinking, "well you guys are going to kill yourselves sliding on the concrete," the next day he brought home from work a 50-foot roll of Naugahyde. It was slicker, faster and better, but not quite good enough, so right then he came up with, and started sketching, a better idea.

According to the 1961 patent, the "aquatic play equipment" was a portable surface for the “sport” of body planing. From his original strip of Naugahyde, Carrier took about 500 cut up sheets of the plastic material and sewed a tube into the side, forming an “irrigating duct” to which a hose could attach. The duct had punctures along the length of it, from which water could be released via pressure from the hose. Seams stitched across the length of the fabric at regular intervals also carried water laterally, getting the surface evenly wet, but not making it soggy. Genius.

I love patents. See below for U.S. Patent 2,982,547.

slip n slide patent
slip n slide patent

I think the slip n slide was a dozen years old when my Dad got the family a knock off version (no, I was told we couldn't afford the Wham-O brand) that me and my two brothers used on the front yard grass. Holy smokes was the old man ticked off we'd killed a perfectly straight, narrow piece of his precious lawn. Plus, we had a concrete strip that dissected the yard horizontally, so at one point, after a dozen or so passes, the Cheap-O slide started to shred on both edges where the grass met the rubble.

Smooth move, boys. Well I was only 7, my big brother was 10 so he shouldered the blame...it was one of the only times it actually worked out better, being younger.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it only because my sweaty body is making everything cling.

Good luck to you beating the heat. Stay hydrated, heat miser.

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