Rubber Ducky – The Phenomenon of Yellow

TVintageRubberDuckiehe Rubber Ducky – it has been around for a very long time, and everybody knows what they are…they even have rubber ducky races. It’s history begins back in the 1940s, and early duckies were actually made of rubber. Today, these toys are made of everything from hard plastic to to soft pliable plastic, and come in a multitude of styles. Everything from the basic (mostly original) design, to character designs. These two images are the vintage rubber duck. The name is a little off, because the duck is actually a hard plastic with google-eyes, but it’s purpose is to entertain the kiddies in the bathtub, just like all the other duckies. This one, however is quite a bit larger. The two images are from different perspectives.

Rubber duck races (aka Derby Duck Races) are held pretty much worldwide, from the US and Canada, to Australia and the UK, and are usually held as fund raisers for several different charities and run by many different organizations, such as KiwanisRotaryBigBrothers/BigSisters and other similar charity and help groups.

While most of these events are fun and successful, one such event attempted in Fort McMurray (Alberta), apparently began and ended in disaster. Okay, I know how bad that sounds, but it isn’t quite what you might think (no, nobody drowned except the ducky). The news reporting of this event (June 2014) was … I shall just say that I found myself snickering through the entire article. It’s a “must read” for rubber ducky lovers everywhere.


I remember very clearly when I was a child and my parents would take me to the The CNE (that’s Toronto’s version of a “fair” – The Canadian National Exhibition) every year. The midway was full of children’s rides and games, and one of those games was simple enough for even toddlers to participate. The Duck Pond. At the “Ex” this wasn’t really a pond, it was a large metal trough filled with moving water, much like a tiny river. On it, floated dozens of yellow rubber ducks, each with a number on the bottom (which of course, you couldn’t see until you captured your duck). Parents would pay the fee (back then, a lowly nickel) and the child would grab their duck off the water (often getting wet in the process). The game manager would check the number on the bottom, and hand over the corresponding prize. Most of those were small, easily broken plastic things – kewpie dolls were one of those. Very fragile when I was young, made of a thin, easily broken plastic. There were larger and better prizes of course, but the percentage of ducks bearing numbers for larger prizes was pretty small, but I did once win a stuffed bear for my parent’s hard earned nickel.

A lineup of yellow rubber duckies wearing hats.

Here (and below), finally, is the rubber duckie lineup. As you can see we have two “plain” rubber duckies – a larger one, and a baby one with wings. There’s also a postman (mailman), a fireman and the one with the green baseball hat is a kid on it’s way to school…he has a backpack which you’ll see in the next pictures. Anybody feel like a bubble bath?

A rubber duckie family with dad wearing a cap, mom and baby.

Two yellow rubber duckies, one wearing a backpack and ball cap, one wearing a fireman's helmet.

While these aren’t exactly “rubber duckies”, they fall into the same category as rubber duckies. These two rubber whale toys (mom and baby) are bath toys for babies.

Two rubber bath toys shaped like a mom and baby blue whale.