Rockford, Illinois Is The Birthplace Of The Sock Monkey (Cool Weird Awesome 1017)

Today in 1992, it's said the first picture book featuring a sock monkey was published. But where did the sock monkey itself show up? That was decades earlier, in the Illinois city of Rockford - or, as it's sometimes called, Sockford.

By |2023-12-14T20:47:33-05:00June 1, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Novelty Maker S.S. Adams Put The Joy In Joy Buzzers (Cool Weird Awesome 1011)

Today in 1879, the birthday of S.S. Adams. If you don’t know the name, you know the products: joy buzzers, sneezing powder, the dribble glass and hundreds of other novelties known all over the world all started with the S.S. Adams Company. 

By |2023-05-24T07:58:19-04:00May 24, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Before Play-Doh Became A Childhood Icon, It Was Known As Kutol Wallpaper Cleaner (Cool Weird Awesome 936)

Today in 1956, the US issued a patent for Play-Doh. Millions of kids have built bazillions of things with this colorful stuff, but in its first life, Play-Doh had a very different job: cleaning soot off wallpaper.

By |2024-01-26T09:49:45-05:00January 26, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

Sign Spinning Isn’t Just A Job, It’s A Sport (Cool Weird Awesome 927)

Tomorrow in Las Vegas, the 2023 AArrow Sign Spinners competition begins, with elite-level sign spinners showing off their best moves.

By |2024-01-13T08:09:49-05:00January 13, 2023|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Pet Rock Started As A Dad Joke And Ended Up As A Million Dollar Idea (Cool Weird Awesome 827)

It was around this time in 1975 that Gary Dahl dropped by a gift show in San Francisco with the idea for the pet rock. It would make him a millionaire.

By |2022-08-15T09:01:48-04:00August 15, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

Sunlight Plus Salt Water Equals A Cooling System (Cool Weird Awesome 624)

A project out of a Saudi university has built a cooling system that uses salt, water and heat from sunlight, but not electricity. Plus: one of the finalists for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame is sand. Just sand. 

By |2021-09-30T06:36:46-04:00September 30, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

How The Hula Hoop Got The World Up And Moving (Cool Weird Awesome 490)

Today in 1963 the Hula Hoop was patented, although by that point it had already become a worldwide phenomenon. And toy hoops go way, way back even before the toys we know today first became popular. Plus: how a very unusual photographer won the Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition.

By |2024-03-05T07:52:29-05:00March 5, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Slinky Was Invented By Accident, But What An Accident It Was (Cool Weird Awesome 429)

Today is the day the Slinky first became a phenomenon, even though it was invented by accident.

By |2023-12-07T08:49:52-05:00November 27, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |

The Rubik’s Cube Was A Maddening Puzzle For Decades, But Not For Speedcubers (Cool Weird Awesome 226)

The Rubik's Cube first came to a toy fair in London 40 years ago today. I have never finished one, but the enthusiasts known as speedcubers can now solve an entire cube in seconds.

By |2024-01-29T09:44:07-05:00January 29, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

The Story Of How Frisbees Flew Into Millions Of People’s Hands – And Hearts (Cool Weird Awesome 222)

Today's the birthday of one of the great toys of our time: the Frisbee. Though if the man who put that toy into millions of hands had his way, it would’ve been called the Pluto Platter.

By |2024-01-23T09:44:44-05:00January 23, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |
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