Well, duck it. You missed Rubber Duckie Day on 13 January!
Never mind. Let’s quack on with these facts about rubber ducks.
Let me know if they fit the bill.
1. The first rubber ducks were chew toys
In the mid-1800’s, weekly dips in the tub went from oldest to youngest.
Dad went first, then oldest brother, down to the youngest child.
To persuade the youngest into the unwelcoming water, out came the rubber duckie.
Some didn’t even float. Why? They were intended as chew toys.
2. Queen Elizabeth II may have a royal rubber duck
In 2001, The Sun, reported that Queen Elizabeth II has a rubber duck in her bathroom.
It apparently wears an inflatable crown.
The duck was spotted by a workman who was repainting her bathroom.
“I nearly fell off my ladder when I saw it – but at least it shows the Queen has a good sense of humour”.
One should not be surprised.
Apparently, the Queen was left in hysterics by Meghan Markle’s singing hamster gift at Christmas.
3. The modern rubber duckie was patented by a sculptor
Sculptor Peter Ganine created a sculpture of a duck in the 1940s.
He patented it as an “uncapsizable duck”.
And sold over 50 million.
4. The Sesame Street Rubber Duckie is the same one from 1970
The Rubber Duckie song is the most popular Sesame Street song even today.
It reached #16 on the Top 100 chart in 1970.
The song was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Since Sesame Street crew can’t find a rubber duckie that makes the original squeak, the duck from 1970 is still used on recordings.
45 years–that’s a good span for a rubber duck!
5. Some lost ducks sell for $1,000
28,000 rubber ducks lost at sea 25 years ago are still washing ashore today.
Fans call the rubber ducks “friendly floatees”.
The toys have become collectors’ items.
One duck, after for 15 years and three oceans, eventually landed on the west coast of Scotland.
In 2003, the toy distributors even offered a $100 US savings bond reward for each duck.
Sellers have been known to fetch up to $1,000 on the open market.
No less than Richard Attenborough reported on the rubber ducks in Blue Planet II to show how interconnected our oceans are.
6. In “Rubber Duck Debugging”, a programmer explains code to a rubber duck
In the book The Pragmatic Programmer , a programmer would carry around a rubber duck and debug their code by forcing themselves to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck.
The rubber duck debugging method is as follows:
- Beg, borrow, steal, buy, fabricate or otherwise obtain a rubber duck (bathtub variety).
- Place rubber duck on desk and inform it you are just going to go over some code with it, if that’s all right.
- Explain to the duck what your code is supposed to do, and then go into detail and explain your code line by line.
- At some point you will tell the duck what you are doing next and then realise that that is not in fact what you are actually doing. The duck will sit there serenely, happy in the knowledge that it has helped you on your way.
Note: In a pinch a coworker might be able to substitute for the duck, however, it is often preferred to confide mistakes to the duck instead of your coworker.
7. The battle of the giant rubber ducks
Artist Florentijn Hofman’s giant Rubber Duck has been transforming harbors into bathtubs since 2007.
Cities the world over pay for Hofman’s duck to draw big crowds.
It’s a statement duck at 15 meters or 5 stories high.
Hofman says his statement is this:
“We are living on a planet, we are one family, and the global waters are our bathtub, so it joins people.”
But then a guy named Craig Samborski made another enormous inflatable duck.
That duck, called “Mama Duck,” is even bigger.
Hofman claims that Samborski’s duck is a fraud.
According to Hofman, the studio considered pursuing legal action against Samborski, although ultimately decided it was too expensive.
“It’s a tough issue when you’re based in Holland and some cowboy in America does this,” he said. “We’re not Gucci or Prada, and we don’t have a department for suing.”
It may be time to release the quackin.
8. Wizards don’t know what rubber ducks are
They apparently do not exist in the wizarding world, or are very rare, as Arthur Weasley once asked Harry Potter what their function was.
“Now Harry, you must know all about Muggles. Tell me, what exactly is the function of a rubber duck?”—Arthur Weasley[src]
Siobhan O’Shea is a freelance writer. She writes about pretty much everything but especially likes to bring readers’ attention to new tech, marketing, human behavior, and other oddities.