Kay Zufall and New Jersey’s Claim on Play-Doh


Thanks to Zufall, Play-Doh avoided being named Rainbow Modeling Compound.

Play-Doh New Jersey

Much like Mazda, the Play-Doh story is one that features a high level of creativity and a willingness to roll with the punches. Much like Mazda of Lodi, Play-Doh has a unique connection to the state of New Jersey as well.

Though the story makes its way to the Garden State in due time, the origins of Play-Doh lie in the city of Cincinnati. The compound that would come to be known as Play-Doh was originally a 1930s wallpaper cleaner called Kutal. Since vinyl wallpaper had not yet been invented at that time, homeowners used putty to clean their walls instead of soap and water. As you can probably guess, however, Kutal became unnecessary when vinyl wallpaper was introduced that would hold up when scrubbed with moist suds.

After Kutal had fallen out of production, a school teacher in Dover, NJ named Kay Zufall came across a newspaper article that described Kutal being used for art projects. Zufall found one can of the non-toxic compound left at her local hardware store. Having done everything that children love to do with Play-Doh, Zufall’s students were sold on this cleaning puddy as a legitimate play toy. Fortunately Zufall had some important connections…


Pronounced “cut-all,” Kutol was the wall-cleaning front-runner to Play-Doh.

As it turns out, one of the original manufacturers of Kutal was Kay Zufall’s brother-in-law. Zufall successfully convinced her family member and his business partner to resume selling the product—only this time marketing it as a product for children. Zuffal’s influence on the childhood classic does not end there, however. The original developers of Kutal wanted to name the children’s product Rainbow Modeling Compound. But Zufall and her husband Bob thankfully picked a winner by suggesting it be named Play-Doh.

Mazda of Lodi salutes Kay Zufall and her family for the spirit of New Jersey inventiveness exhibit throughout her life. Zufall unfortunately passed away on January 18, but they lives she impacted with one simple act of creativity cannot be underestimated.