Archive for January, 2010
Bubble Wrap Turns 50!
Bubble Wrap, the iconic packaging material, turns 50 today, January 25, 2010. It also happens to be the 10th Annual Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day.
Sealed Air, makers of Bubble Wrap brand will be running their factory line entirely in gold today, rather than clear, to commemorate the event.
Originally invented in a garage in Hawthorne, NJ as a textured wallpaper. When that didn’t work out, they tried to market it as a greenhouse insulator. Eventually, they hit on the idea of using it to cushion fragile items and an icon was born.
Why am I mentioning the 50th anniversary of Bubble Wrap in my toy blog? You know why. Bubble Wrap stands with the Cardboard Box as one of those products that is not used as intended, but instead often used as a toy. You know you love popping it. Bubble Wrap has more than two million fans on Facebook.
But what do you do when you are stressed out and would love to pop some Bubble Wrap, but you have none handy? No problem. Just visit the Virtual Bubblewrap page to pop as much as you like (Be sure to try "Manic Mode" to pop at hyper speed).
Want to pop even when you’re not at your computer? Check out the Electronic Bubble Wrap Keychain. You can pop your virtual bubble wrap anytime.
Happy Birthday Bubble Wrap!
On January 4, in Denver, Co, Trinity Anderson was found by her mother, lying limp on the floor next to her chair. There was a USB cable lying next to her which was plugged into her mother’s iPod (or laptop, depending on which report you read). Burnt flesh was found on the prongs of the USB cable and she was hospitalized with third-degree burns on her tongue, palate and lip. She remains hospitalized and has had a traceotomy and administered sedatives and paralytics to keep her still and quiet while she recovers.
A technician spent the day friday at the infant’s home trying to determine what actually happened. A USB cable typically doesn’t carry more than 5 volts of power, far too low to do any damage (which you would know if you’ve ever put your tongue on a 9-volt battery). Apple’s USB cables can sometimes carry a bit more, but it’s not usually considered life-threatening. Life threatening voltage is usually considered over 50 volts.
It seems to me that something more than was going on here than a child putting a USB cable in her mouth. Especially when the other end was attached to an iPod (and not the outlet). Since nobody saw what happened, we may never know exactly what the child was doing when she was burned.
However, this story is a good reminder to parents to be careful about seemingly harmless cables and cords. With all the consumer electronics in most homes today, the amount of cables has expanded dramatically. Many are often left plugged into the wall when rechargeable electronics are in use. While they may seem harmless (and may be harmless) parents should consider taking some precautions with small children to be sure they are safe.
I found these USB Protective Covers on Amazon. While they are certainly not fool proof, and you would still want to keep the cables out of reach, so children don’t swallow the covers, they would still provide a small amount of protection if the end of a USB cable should find its way into a young mouth. They also protect the connectors from dust.
Art Clokey with his creation Gumby.
Art Clokey passed away on Friday, January 8, 2010. He was 88.
If you don’t recognize Art Clokey’s name, he is the creator of Gumby!
Gumby and his buddy, Pokey were first seen as shorts on the Howdy Doody Show.
If you’ve visited my Toy Trivia page, you’d know that the shape of Gumby’s head was inspired by the hair style of Art’s father.
Art Clokey was also the creator of one of my favorite shows (probably because of the name) "Davey and Goliath", which were created for the Lutheran Church.
His creations have been satirized many times over. Most notably, Gumby has been satirized by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live and more recently, Davey and Goliath has been satirized (quite irreverently) by the TV Show Moral Orel.
It wasn’t actually until a renewed interest in Gumby, brought about by Eddie Murphy’s character, that Clokey began to see real financial benefit from his creation.
Art started his claymation career with a student film called "Gumbasia". Check it out…
And for a very strange example of Art’s work, check out the opening sequence to Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine…
World’s Most Useless Machine
I came across this today and thought it was very cool. It is the World’s Most Useless Machine. The guy (I think it’s a guy) who created it built it from scratch. It does only one thing… turns itself off. Check out the video below and if you’d like to have your own, complete instructions are available at www.instructables.com.
If this machine ever gets commercially produced, we will carry it!
Incidentally, I absolutely love the Instructables site. Unfortunately, they recently went to a "pay" system so that you must become a Pro Member in order to see all images, view all steps on one page, or save a pdf of the instructions. Fortunately, the Pro Membership is fairly inexpensive. They also have very intrusive ads on their site. You know the ones…they enlarge over top of what you are reading until you find the "close" button. Hate that.
Anyway, check out the video below of the World’s Most Useless Machine Ever.
Civil War Cannon
One of my favorite items, and also one or our most popular, are Big Bang Cannons. Unfortunately, we have been forced to increase our prices on most of these cannons due to an increase from the manufacturer. Like most products, due to higher costs, they had to raise prices. The last time they had an increase was in 2000, so it is understandable. However, since the price has not changed for 10 years, the increase has been a substantial one.
We are sorry for this increase, but we have kept the prices as low as we possibly can. Subscribers to our newsletter were alerted early to the increase so they had a chance to purchase a cannon before they went up (shameless plug).
All the brass cannons are the same price at this time.
Incidentally, If you aren’t familiar with this great item, don’t miss my Big Bang Cannon information page with all the information you could possibly want to know about them.