10 Dangerous Toys From Our Past
Sometimes I wonder how we even survived our childhood with some of the dangerous toys that we had!
How many of these toys did you have? Did you suffer any injuries? Looking back, some of these things should probably never have been available for children to use!
These things were glass balls on each end of a string that was about a foot long. In the middle of the string was a little tab to hold onto. The object was to get these things going fast enough that they would bounce off each other and keep going above and below your hand. How many of us ended up with very bruised arms trying to get this thing to work? Also, they had to eventually make the things of plastic instead of glass because of reports of the glass shattering.
Joe Kasnowicz recently posted a video of himself on Facebook using these things.
Here are some old commercials for the "new and improved Klackers" that won't shatter...
Lawn Darts or Jarts
I'm not sure how these things ever were approved to be sold in stores. They were darts that were about a foot long with a metal tip at the end. You played the game by standing on opposite ends of the yard near a plastic ring. The object was for your opponent to throw the dart into the ring (which you were standing alongside). The Consumer Product Safety Commission eventually banned the sale of all lawn darts after three children died after taking a dart to the head. Other injuries including kids getting in hitting in the face, eyes, and ears.
Growing up, we had a couple of sets of Lawn Darts. I'm not sure whatever happened to them. They eventually redesigned this toy and replaced the metal tip with a weighted, rounded end...something that still hurt a lot if you took one to the head.
Here is a video of just exactly what Jarts were...
This was cool toy, but way too dangerous for children. It involved a small hot plate that would cook metal molds to create plastic creepy crawlers. It was also referred to as "The ThingMaker".
The "Goop" (which had the consistency of Elmer's Glue and was somewhat toxic) was squeezed into these metal molds. The molds were then put onto this hot plate. The heat caused the liquid to turn into a vinyl/rubber-like substance.
This device heated up to 350 degrees and the metal molds got extremely hot. When you took the mold from the hot plate and put it into a tray of water to cool it down -- the water would actually sizzle!
I had a couple versions of this toy as a child. And yes, I did receive my fair share of burns because of it.
Here is an old commercial for Creepy Crawlers from 1964...
One of the toys I remember most from my childhood was something I originally inherited from my father's toy collection. It was a microscope that came along with a chemistry set. I later received a new, updated chemistry set of my very own.
The problem was back then apparently adults didn't care about what chemicals there children were playing with. I remember my chemistry set actually had a vial of mercury and you were encouraged to take the mercury and roll it around in your hand!
Here is a video of a woman selling a chemistry set that she had on the TV show "Pawn Stars"...
This was supposed to be a fun toy to play with in the hot summer weather.
It was a device that hooked to the end of your garden hose. The water coming out of your hose was turned into a high pressure stream of water. The end of this hose was covered by an orange plastic cup like device with a goofy face on it. This covering caused the high pressure stream of water to bounce around.
It was all fun and games until someone took the Water Wiggle to the face! This thing also had a incredible tendency to wrap itself around your neck. It was not uncommon to see a few bloody noses.
We had one of these things. I remember not being able to turn on the hose too far because if you did, this thing went crazy and there was no preventing yourself from getting smashed in the face.
Here is a TV commercial for the Water Wiggle...
Slip 'n Slide
This was also intended to be a fun outdoor toy for use in the summer.
It was basically a long sheet of plastic with a tube along the side that shot water onto the plastic to keep it slippery.
The object was to run, and then launch yourself onto the plastic and slide to the end. Sounds like fun right?
Unless you have a father like mine. He was so worried that this thing might mess up his lawn, that we had to set it up on the concrete driveway!
Not only did it hurt when you launched yourself horizontally onto the plastic with the concrete underneath, but if you misjudged your initial speed, you would slide off the end of the Slip 'n Slide right onto the concrete. There were quite a few upper bodies with road rash in our neighborhood that summer.
I can still see that water and blood mixture pooling up at the end of the Slip 'n Slide on the driveway. Thanks Dad! At least your lawn looked great that year!
Here is an old TV commercial for the Slip 'n Slide...
They looked harmless enough, until you started launching these things near your face!
The Consumer Product Safety Commission received 150 reports of eye injuries, broken teeth and even a mild concussion from the use of this toy.
Let's take a metal pole, put a few little pads for a child's feet and then attach a spring to the end of it!
Wow! What a great idea! What?!
We had one of these things. After some time, you can get pretty good at it, but in that period when you first get it, there are a lot of sprained ankles, cuts, bruises, and skinned knees.
At one point, they even attached a gasoline engine to one version of this thing...
I sometimes wonder if doctors invented a lot of these toys to boost their business!
Moon Shoes were basically 8-10" metal springs that you would attach to your shoes. Gee, what could go wrong here?
Over the years they have modified these things. The ones we had back in the 70s were just big blue metal springs on the bottom of a metal plate. Newer versions enclosed that spring so you couldn't really see what was giving you that bouncy action.
This was another one of those toys that caused not only skinned hands and knees, but also quite a few sprained or broken ankles.
Here is a TV commercial for the newer versions of Moon Shoes...
Super Elastic Bubble Plastic
With Super Elastic Bubble Plastic you could basically make your own balloons! And the name was fun to say!
The stuff came in a tube, much like toothpaste. You would mold it into a balloon like shape and then insert a straw and blow it up.
Just one problem: The plastic used was toxic when inhaled or ingested. Try blowing up a balloon attached to a straw without inhaling this stuff. Oh, the smell of this stuff was incredibly chemical smelling as well.