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When modernity creates once in human history toys.

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I was eating cereal the other day and got one of those toys that comes at the end of a box. This was from the movie about a panda doing Asian martial arts (or one of it’s sequels). After putting the stickers on the toy and playing around with it, I realized just how much technology was needed to make a seemingly simple and soon to be thrown out kids’ toy.


The toys found in cereal boxes are nearly always made of plastics with decals and a few small pieces of metal (an internal spring). To make a plastic you need a petroleum industry, a refining industry, and a plastics industry. All of that requires a firm understanding of materials, chemicals, and chemical processes. To actually make the shape of the toy you need a foundation of a process called injection mould making. The springs need metallurgy, the button and the pressure needed to spin the discus need scientists who understand physics, motion and the mechanics of stored energy (usually as a result of a spring power similar to a watch’s tension spring). The stickers require modern machine printing so that they do not dissolve in water or sunlight over the expected life of the toy, which requires computer science, microelectronics, a power industry, digital artists, cartoonists, paper makers, wax makers (paraffin or beeswax coated paper). All of these industries need to be functioning in a society at the same time with high levels of production and quality.

All of that, for a toy that would be used for a few days or less before being discarded to a landfill.

What a waste of the collective energy of human society, but still…it’s a neat toy that uses a spring to spin a discus into the air (like a helicopter).

And just think, this is the ‘boring low tech toy’ that kids quickly become bored with!


P07-27-11_16.26 P07-27-11_16.25 P07-27-11_16.25[1] P07-27-11_16.25[2]


Written by Josecito

July 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Hahaha… Bella’s face is priceless. She’s wondering what flavor it is :)


    July 27, 2011 at 9:35 pm

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