Tour of a fake vomit factory


Ben Marks of Collector's Weekly says: "We just published an article on the origins of fake barf. Thanks to Mardi and Stan Timm, who are the foremost collectors of novelty gag gifts, we got the story behind plastic vomit, including behind-the-scenes photos from the Chicago factory where this infamous item is still produced."

H. Fishlove & Co.—and now Fun Inc., which bought the company in the ’80s—has kept a lid on the formula Irving came up with, the same way Coca-Cola guards its recipe and KFC protects its special herbs and spices.

“It is a secret recipe,” Mardi says. “But I think we know what’s in it. It’s got foam pieces cut up, and it’s got latex. But the actual recipe, nobody outside the company knows that.”


The Inside Scoop on the Fake Barf Industry


  1. It occurs to me that if someone actually vomited in that facility, others might have a difficult task locating the source of the stench. It would be like Will Smith trying to flush out the imposter in “I, Robot.”

  2. Dang.  You beat me to it.  I was going to say “if someone vomits in the fake vomit factory, how would anyone find it?”  But I didn’t have a witty comparison to the Fresh Prince.

  3. My buddy had this when we were in second grade, and it was the epitome of wit and sophistication.
    But who would think there is such a call for it that there’s a whole factory, uh, churning it out?
    In third grade the ante was upped to fake dog crap; perhaps a feature on the retooling process would be in order?
    In sixth grade a guy had a small volume with a silver cover, with the inscription “Nudes of The World”. The curious boy (all of us) opening the book, was rewarded with a pretty powerful electric shock, supplied by a 9 volt battery wired to that silver cover

  4. I find myself attracted more to the packaging for these sort of gag gifts which appears to have all been frozen in time, with the illustrations created entirely by the Mad Magazine lineup of illustrators.

  5. This is like a 10 minute drive from me.  It’s amazing and now sad to think about how much stuff was once made in this town.  There’s a roller skate factory, next to a sticker factory, next to a guitar factory, next to a candy factory…..  sigh.  It’s good to see that they’re still at it.  I don’t know how they could compete with another company if they decided to manufacture something similar in China etc..

  6. I make my own fake vomit, thank you very much. I’ve posted an Instructable about it and I’ll be happy to put people in touch with my suppliers, who are all local artisans.

    Don’t waste your money lining the pockets of Big Barf.

  7. When I need fake vomit, I just saunter on down to the Puke-a-rama™.  Mmmmm.  Now that’s a heaving that’s worth believing!

  8. I don’t understand how fake vomit sells. Real vomit is not only funnier, it’s freakin’ FREE.

    1. Yes, real vomit is much funnier, except there’s always one party pooper that doesn’t see the humour of the situation.

      1. Yeah, people who are into party pooping usually are too snobby to admit they also like prank-puking. Kind of like that whole dumb Apple Fan/Windows Fan thing.

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