Who Invented Googly Eyes


Not to be confused by a googly in cricket, googly eyes are those small little plastic eyes that you can find in most craft stores today. The pupils in the eyes shake about and make the final craft project look like their eyes are going every which way but loose. Made from a hard plastic shell that is transparent, they come in a variety of sizes and even in a variety of colors.

Although there is no actual credit given to the invention of googly eyes in a formal way, most people point toward Billy deBeck as the inventor of the product.

What Caused deBeck To Invent the Googly Eyes?

Billy deBeck wasn’t really what you’d call a traditional inventor. If anything, he was a creative artist at best. In 1919, deBeck began to create a comic that he called Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. His characters had those big, googly eyes to them as the hook for the comic and the concept began to take off. In the next year, he reportedly began creating the craft product that we think of today as a method of further promoting in his comic strip.

The culmination of deBeck’s work came in 1923 when he developed a song for Barney Google. Called Barney Google with Your Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes, the concept of the googly eyes was in full force in society. It naturally brought a smile to people’s faces and the craft line took off.

Is there any actual proof that it was deBeck who invented the product? There is not. There is no documented proof anywhere of anyone actually inventing the craft product. Even still, you can see them everywhere today on puppets, art schools, and in the average junk drawer for a family that has children.

Until There Is More Info, Here’s What We Know

There are only some basic facts that are confirmed about googly eyes:

1. They are awesome.
2. They are usually quite big and for the most part they are round.
3. They are viewed as silly.
4. They don’t require a face to actually be identified as an eyeball.
5. You can be entertained by googly eyes where you’re 1 or 101.

The next time you see Snuffy Smith in the comics, then you might be seeing the foundation of where googly eyes were created. Barney Google might still have his name on the comic series, but he’s long gone. He’s only appeared twice in about 20 years. Still, Barney’s history may be living in every little googly eye that is sold in craft stores around the world today, even if they don’t promote the comic strip any more.

Or maybe they do… no one really knows.