I contacted Crazy Aaron's Putty World because I was curious about the business. Elizabeth Perry was kind enough to take the time to respond. The interview was checked via email for accuracy.
RW: How did Aaron get the idea for the business? Does he have a scientific or engineering background?
CAPW: Aaron has a computer science background. When he was working as a software engineer, he was looking for some cool and unusual toys for his desk. He had always been a fan of putty and he figured out how to order 100lbs of the stuff direct from the manufacturer. After the first 100lbs arrived, he divided it up among his co-workers and the entire 100lbs was gone in days. So, he ordered more and people in the office went nuts for the stuff. Eventually, the firm Aaron worked for was purchased and Aaron's former co workers dispersed to new jobs, taking their putty with them. In Dec 2002, Aaron decided to strike out on his own into the putty business and he's been working on developing packaging, pigments and putty science ever since.
RW: Does he use a silicon-based polymer in the putty?
CAPW: Yes, Thinking Putty is silicone based.
RW: Does the crazy putty pull ink off newspapers like the name brand competitor?
CAPW: Many newspapers no longer use inks which can transfer onto the putty. Newspapers now use a soy based ink which does not transfer onto any kind of putty [*], Thinking Putty or otherwise. If you can find a paper printed with transferable inks, Thinking Putty will copy the image.
RW: When I talk to people about these putties, most of them remember the newspaper transfer property. Your website refers to the tactile sensation that people enjoy when handling the putty. Do you have an opinion as to why it's so enjoyable?
CAPW: I think many people have fond memories of playing with putty as a child. Thinking Putty allows adults to relive those fun times, only in larger adult sized handfuls and in many colors they've never seen before. Our Glow in the Dark and Strange Attractor Thinking Putties are among our most popular varieties.
[*] American newspapers moved to soy-based inks in the late '80's.