Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: The origin of the rubber chicken . . . ( No Answer,   5 Comments )
Subject: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: stevehd-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 23 Jul 2003 15:52 PDT
Expires: 22 Aug 2003 15:52 PDT
Question ID: 234353
I've tried in the past to find the origin, inventor or even the
circumstances around the invention of the comedy prop, the rubber
chicken (For clarification see: I've spoken to
elderly comedians. I spent two days digging through chicken patents at
the UMass Library with no success. I even managed to extract a "we
don't know" letter from the Smithsonian Institute. So far, I've heard
plenty of anecdotes, but the true origin and history has remained
elusive. What I am looking for is a real academic, footnoted history.
I know it's a tall order, but hopefully this information exists
already. Somewhere, someone has walked these steps before me. I cannot
believe that I am the first to ask.

Request for Question Clarification by justaskscott-ga on 25 Jul 2003 17:18 PDT
Is there something that makes you think that Loftus did not invent the
rubber chicken?  In other words, have you come across an earlier
reference to a rubber chicken?

Incidentally, I doubt that there would be a patent for rubber chickens
-- the patent would be for the rubber itself.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
From: journalist-ga on 23 Jul 2003 16:35 PDT
Greetings Stevehd:

I was able to come close cigar.  Below is what I located.  If
you feel it is an acceptable answer, I'll be happy to post it in the
answer area.


"Mrs. Beatroot Says "During the war we could not get hold of fresh
meat. Rubber, however, we had in abundance and thus the first Rubber
Chicken was created. It makes a superb substitute for the real thing,
with the added advantage of taking much longer to chew." [I believe
this is but a joke.]



"Nobody is quite sure when the first rubber chicken took flight. Its
history might go back to the dawn of the rubber age in 1839, several
show business historians say.

"Kathryn Keyes-O’Dell of the International Clown Hall of Fame says the
legendary Joseph Grimaldi is widely credited with incorporating fake
food into his act to delight British audiences — and he is widely
hailed for developing the often dubious art of prop humor."



Also at the site above was a reference to Rose, owner of Loftus:
"Rose and his father-in-law started Loftus International as a novelty
store back in 1939. It’s now a major wholesaler and exporter with 47
employees. And it’s America’s only manufacturer of floppy fowl."

"Loftus Novelty was founded in 1939. The first shop was a tiny hole in
the wall located in down town Salt Lake City. Loftus Novelty was the
first business in Salt Lake City to offer novelty and magic to the
public. In the 1960's Loftus became a wholesale only company. At this
time our inventory was greatly expanded to include items from all over
the world. We also became a major distributor of balloons in the
United States. In 1995 Loftus Novelty was changed to Loftus
International in response to our increased importing and exporting
business. Loftus International has continued to grow into one of the
premier novelty, magic and balloon distrubutors in the United States."

Their mascot is the rubber chicken.  See


I checked US patents for the rubber chicken and found none.  Results
page is at

"I tried to find the history of rubber chickens but I only found one
sentence that said that it was a joke started by the French during the
French Revolution."


[aside: for a chuckle, search "French military victories" using Google
with the "I'm feeling lucky" button.]


Should I discover more info, I'll post it for your consideration.

Best regards,


first "rubber chicken"
origin "rubber chicken"
inventor "rubber chicken"
phrase "rubber chicken"
history "rubber chicken"
US patent office
Subject: Re: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
From: stevehd-ga on 24 Jul 2003 12:59 PDT
Sorry to do this to you as I know you put a lot of time in, but the
search is going to have to continue.

I've the article by Buck Wolf. Not a bad explanation, but he misses
the fact that the British Clown in question used hard rubber
vegetables in his act, rubber carrots and the like. A floppy rubber
chicken would likely not be available for another 100 years or so as
latex injection technology took two World Wars to perfect.. I did call
the International Clown Hall of Fame he quotes (over six months ago),
and they were of limited help although they were incredibly pleasant.

The same cannot be said for Loftus. I called them over two years ago
(a fact which exposes just how long I’ve been obsessed with this
question). As far as I can tell, they thought I was a competitor
trying to steal their trade secrets. They wouldn’t even tell me when
their company started making rubber chickens. It was a very surreal

Speaking of the French Revolution, I do have a copy of a wood-block
print of a fool holding two dead ducks, which look startlingly like
rubber chickens. Apparently the print was the punch line of a joke
about a fool who killed his ducks during a rainstorm to insure that
they would not drown. For all I know this is still funny to the
Subject: Re: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
From: journalist-ga on 24 Jul 2003 14:17 PDT
Dear Stevehd:

I understand which is why I posted a comment instead of an answer.  :)
 Perhaps I'll be able to assist you in a future query.  Good luck!

Best regards,
Subject: Re: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
From: ulu-ga on 25 Jul 2003 15:42 PDT
It is the age-old question, "Which came first the rubber chicken or
the rubber egg?"

Perhaps it was the rubber egg, if you consider the use of the Fool's
In the first traveling village shows, it sufficed to hit someone with
a bladder, and in much later vaudeville, a rubber chicken.
A classic Clark and McCullough burlesque sketch was titled "The
Courtroom," which had Clark as the judge at the trial of a strip-tease
performer. Every time an attorney spoke, Clark would hit him with a
bladder and shout, "You're trying to inject hokum into this case!"
1.8 The Bladder on a Stick: 
Though less in favour today, the traditional Bladder-on-a-Stick still
has the capacity to cause much amusement amongst the younger 
generation and the feeble-minded. 

Your print of the fool with the ducks might tie into this.

You would think success like this would have a thousand roosters
claiming parentage.

Good luck with your quest.
Subject: Re: The origin of the rubber chicken . . .
From: ulu-ga on 26 Jul 2003 03:20 PDT
"The story begins in 1939. George Loftus saw a need for novelty items
and magic tricks in Salt Lake City. So he and his stepson Gene Rose
opened a tiny shop.... One of his first items was an electric nose
cleaner made from a rubber finger and a cord. Shortly thereafter,
Loftus Novelty produced and marketed the first rubber chicken made of
Latex rubber. The product spread nationally, and Gene bought the
rights to the original rubber chicken mold."

Does this mean Gene bought the rights from some other company or he
personally bought the rights from Loftus?

There was a 1930 newspaper article that mentioned a "rubber chicken
banquet".  Could there have been an different phrase describing rubber
chickens back then?

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy