The 1960s were a magical decade in the world of toys. Toy companies like Wham-O, Hasbro, Mattel and Kenner were churning out captivating toys faster than toy stores could keep them in stock. Toys like Lite-Brite, Etch A Sketch, Twister, Creepy Crawlers, Operation, Hippity Hop, Spirograph… and of course Kenner’s Easy Bake Oven (launched in 1963) were all the rage.
With an entertaining narrative, Light Bulb Baking explains how the miniature working oven got its start, dissects the oven, explains how a simple light bulb can bake a cake, and tells us loads of fun anecdotes and trivia about Easy Bake (such as the shelf life of Easy Bake mixes, the horrible burns caused by the 2006-2007 models, and the story of a 9-year-old Easy Bake Baker of the Year who won $5,000 for her Toffee Trifle Cake). The book, which is smartly designed with photos, diagrams and sidebars, ends with a bunch of award-winning recipes that make me want to dig out the old Easy Bake Oven I have somewhere in my garage.
Light Bulb Baking
by Todd Coopee
2013, 178 pages, 8.7 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches (paperback)
Take a look at other beautiful paper books at Wink. And sign up for the Wink newsletter to get all the reviews and photos delivered once a week.
Australian filmmaker Danny Philippou brings a Nerf gun battle with your friends to a new cinematic level. (via Laughing Squid)
The $20 Zombie Striker Nerf Foam Machete is just what you need for your little monster-hunters.
This episode of Gweek is brought to you by Bombfell, the glorious clothing service for men that sends handpicked outfits to your door. Go to bombfell.com/gweek
to get $10 off your first purchase. And by Stamps.com
-- get a $110 sign-up bonus with the offer code GWEEK!Read the rest
The Lego Super Heroes model of Batman's Tumbler with Batman and Joker minifigs will be available September 1 for $200, or right now from scalpers for $850-$1150 (caveat emptor).
Read the rest
Mouse Trap (1963) became a classic but its cousin Crazy Clock (1964) vanished into history's toy chest. Above, vintage TV commercials for both (via Strange Universe).
If you miss your Big Wheel, you might dig this $2,000 motorized Big Wheel Drift Trike. Below, video of trike drifters (via Laughing Squid).
$30 gets you printable STL files for three suits of Barbie armor -- you'll need your own printer (or use one at your local makerspace).
My wife (and kids) are big fans of the classic Slip 'N Slide on a summer day. The New York Times Magazine has the history of its invention which involved belly-flopping on a concrete driveway.
(Thanks, Tanya Schevitz!)
Like any concerned father with ready access to rugged, waterproof synthetic fabrics at work, Robert Carrier took home a 50-foot roll of beige Naugahyde in hopes of persuading his son to splash down on something safer. He unfurled it in the yard, hosed it down and watched as every kid in the neighborhood showed up and stayed to slide for hours.
Realizing he had a hit on his hands, Carrier used his sewing skills to refine his product. “He stitched a long tube along one side, sewn shut at one end, with spaces between the stitching so that when you attached the hose, the water pressure would build up and water would squirt out those openings and lubricate the surface of the material,” (explains Tim Walsh, author of "Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them.")
The Mr. Potato Head Star Wars R2D2 goes on sale on July 14 -- happy Bastille Day! Up the rebellion! (via Geekymerch)
Makies, the 3D printed toy and game company, has launched FabLab, its inaugural game! FabLab is a free game for people eight and up, through which you create and customize a character and its accessories, which you can also get as real-world, one-off, custom-fabbed objects. MakieLab, the company that created FabLab, was founded by my wife Alice Taylor, and so I've had an inside view into the process by which the game and its back-end -- which includes a remarkable toolchain for turning 3D game-objects into printable items -- came into being. The Makies here in London are fantastic, and they've done brilliantly with the game, if I do say so myself. Please give the game a try -- and tell your friends!
Makies FabLab! Out Now! | Makie.me
The 700th Undead Ted horror-toy was a face-removing, talking animatronic that sold for £420 on Ebay. I love that it can do more than one line; I like to think of it as the reincarnation of good ole Teddy Ruxpin.
The inimitable Liz McGrath created "Minerva," a recycled toy robot, for the "World's Greatest ONE of ONE Custom Toy Show" curated by KMNDZ opening tonight at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, California.
on how Playmobil's bold stereotyping can be a teachable moment with her 5-year-old, or not.Read the rest
In 2013, a group of Lego masters unveiled Cyberpocalypse, a spectacularly detailed, moody, neon-lit cyberpunk city. It's a triumph of EL wire and science fiction aesthetics, a kind of bricky Burning Man theme-camp in miniature.
Read the rest
Over at Collectors Weekly, our pal Ben Marks talks to the co-inventor of the wonderful classic toy Colorforms, simply a pack of die-cut vinyl shapes and a board to stick them on, invented in 1951 and available to this day:
Read the rest