The Famous Frisbee Game

The Frisbee has a rather humble beginning that started on a college campus in New England. It was there that a group of bored, hungry college students learned that they could turn the empty pie plates of their favorite sweets into flying discs for playing catch. The pies were produced by the Frisbie Baking Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut and were packaged in lightweight tins that had a small lip and were surprisingly aerodynamic.

 Frisbee

The Frisbee name was first put on a flying disc in 1957 when the founder of Wham-O noticed the popular toy on college campuses and decided to get in on a new market. Today, nearly every flying disc is casually referred to as a Frisbee. 

The activity of taking to the campus lawns and passing back and forth Frisbie pans became so common that eventually 2 business partners took note and started producing similar discs in plastic. The new plastic discs had better accuracy and lasted longer than the pie tins from the baking company. The first plastic discs were released in 1948, around the same time as the public started becoming preoccupied with UFOs. The flying discs had a similar shape to a UFO which caused them to skyrocket in popularity.

The original discs were called Pluto Platters in an effort to cash in on the popularity of UFOs. This design became the basis of all future Frisbees. In 1955, the Pluto Platter design was sold to Wham-O who later began producing them under the name of Frisbee. The name change was a marketing ploy to cash in on the unusual history of the toy.

Sales of Frisbees skyrocketed before eventually tapering off when electronic toys started to dominate the market. As kids became more sedentary, sales of outdoor toys slowed. A revival in the early 2000s and renewed interest in vintage games like Frisbee golf and ultimate Frisbee brought the Frisbee back to life. Today, the Frisbee design is owned by Mattel Toy Manufacturers. Before being bought by Mattel, Wham-O sold over 100 million of the discs to eager children throughout the country.

As medical science points to the growing list of hazards brought on by excessive television watching in children, resurgence in popularity of outdoor, non-battery operated toys is occurring. Parents are introducing their children to toys like the Frisbee that promote physical activity, fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Frisbee games are still popular on college campuses and even schools are cashing in on the fun, inexpensive toys by adding them to playground caches.

The simple, inexpensive Frisbee is once again becoming a childhood staple. Parents, kids, college students, aunt, uncles and even grandparents can all enjoy the simple design and humble story of one of America’s greatest toys.

Super Soaker – Recreational Water Toy

Super Soaker water guns are made by Hasbro under the Nerf brand. The toy was invented in 1982 by an engineer named Lonnie Johnson, but was not put into mass production until 1989. They were originally sold under the name Power Drencher, but were later rebranded to Super Soakers in 1991 after a series of TV advertisements. That year over 2 million of the guns were sold.

Super Soaker sales peak in the summer months when children are looking for a way to be entertained outdoors while remaining cool. To date, more than $1 billion dollars’ worth of Super Soakers have been sold throughout the world. The brand has enjoyed such popularity that the term Super Soaker is now often used to describe any type of water gun.

Super Soaker

 

While on the surface the Super Soaker may look like a toy, to a child, it is much more. Many childhood disputes have been solved over the years with an epic Super Soaker battle. Kids in neighborhoods often group off into armies and take their water fights to the streets where they battle it out for bragging rights.

As a result, the Super Soaker brand has released bigger, better guns over the years. The water reservoirs become larger and the pumping mechanisms become more efficient. The goal is always to maximize soakage while minimizing the physical work needed to drench the opponent. Each model of Super Soaker is carefully engineered and tested to meet the strict demands of 9-year-old warlords

In recent years, Super Soakers have seen a renewed surge in popularity, despite the increase in anti-gun sentiments. Though some say Super Soakers encourage violent play, parents see the toys as the anti-screen. They force children outdoors and to interact with one another in real time.

To help alleviate outcry from the anti-gun movement, Nerf makes sure that Super Soakers are always painted bright colors and are not shaped like actual guns. Though they share some components, like a trigger, it would be very difficult to mistake a Super Soaker for an actual gun. Most parents agree that the benefits of social interaction and outdoor play outweigh any negative aspects of a gun-like toy, so it’s safe to say that the Super Soaker is here to stay.

Etch A Sketch

Etch A Sketch is a mechanical drawing toy that has been around for over 50 years. The easily recognizable toy allows users to create horizontal and vertical lines on a grey screen to create designs. They can then shake the device to clear the screen and start over again.

The Etch A Sketch was originally designed in France, but was quickly bought and produced by the Ohio Art Company who saw the design as a money making opportunity. The first Etch A Sketches look exactly like the ones produced today do, which a red plastic frame and grey screen. There are 2 knobs on the front of the frame and twisting them moves a stylus on the inside that displaces the aluminum powder behind the screen to create dark, solid colored lines. The resulting lithographic images can be erased by simply shaking the frame.

etch-a-sketch

The Etch A Sketch came into production on July 12, 1960 right around the peak of the Baby Boom. In 1998 it was inducted to the National Toy Hall of Fame and in 2003 it made the Century of Toys List which commemorated the top 100 most memorable toys of the 20th century.

Though it has won numerous awards and millions of units have been sold, the Etch A Sketch is perhaps one of the most polarizing toys in history. Children either love or hate the mechanical drawing system, though parents universally love it. The toy is cheap, reusable, extremely durable and best of all – silent. Because of this, it has made its way into Santa’s sack more times than most other toys on the market.

The Etch A Sketch has even made cameos in several movies, though it’s probably most noted for its reoccurring role in the Toy Story franchise. Collectors and enthusiasts have carefully noted each and every time the device appears in the films and listings of when it appears and what it is used for in the movies can even be found online.

In 1986, the Etch a Sketch Animator made its debut. The high-tech toy hoped to capitalize on the original’s popularity and used a low-resolution dot matrix display instead of the grey screen and aluminum powder of earlier models. It had a small amount of built-in memory and was able to store several images to create brief animations. There was even a built-in speaker that made static-like noises when the knobs were turned. Unfortunately, the Etch A Sketch Animator never gained popularity. Kids didn’t find it much more appealing than the traditional Etch A Sketch and parents didn’t like the sounds or battery requirement. The Animator won no awards and was generally forgotten by the public.

With the abundance of loud, electronic toys on the market today, there’s a certain appeal in giving children a gift that requires nothing more than a little imagination and some hand-eye coordination. Because of its simple design and firm place in every adult’s memory, the Etch A Sketch will continue to live on, make appearances on holidays and birthdays for children throughout the world.