Super Elastic Bubble Plastic

Blowing soap bubbles is a cherished childhood tradition, but what if you wanted to create a colorful sphere that you could actually play with? In the 70s, the fine folks at Wham-O toys came up with the perfect solution – Super Elastic Bubble Plastic. Just squeeze a small portion out of the tube, attach it to a small straw and blow the bubble of your dreams.

Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was released in 1970 and became an instant hit for Wham-O toys. Television commercials showed kids creating planet-sized psychedelic bubbles that they could pass back and forth among their friends and, shortly after, the inexpensive tubes of colorful goo started flying off store shelves.

 

There was just one small detail, one that would eventually lead to the demise of this beloved toy – the fumes. Super Elastic Bubble Plastic was made from a combination of polyvinyl acetate, dissolved in acetone, and ethyl acetate, and these combined to create some rather intoxicating noxious aromas – especially if you had the misfortune of inhaling through the little plastic straw rather than exhaling like you were supposed to.

As a result, parents complained and Super Elastic Bubble Plastic would be pulled from store shelves within a few years, despite the product’s popularity. Various knock-offs have been introduced over the years, but the original only survives in our collective memories, a toy that disappeared almost as soon as it arrived.

If you have fond memories of playing with Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, I hope you’ll take a moment to share your memories in our comments section.

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3 Responses

  1. Robert says:

    We all had some of this stuff back in the day, I can still remember the smell, it was completely unique. Years ago I smelled something similar but couldn’t figure out why it rang so familiar. Than I saw something on the product and it all came rushing (no pun intended) back to me. If you ever smelled it (and it wasn’t horrible or anything, just unique) you will never forget it. Thanks for this trip down the lane.

  2. Anonymous says:

    We chewed the plastic after the bubble deflated.

  3. Sooz says:

    Oh. My. God. We referred to this as “Bubbloons” so I’m guessing I had the hack, knock off stuff in the late 70s. As the other comment mentions, it was a unique smell, with a hint of airplane glue. Colorful latex with a mini, easy to swallow straw & noxious fumes…what could posdibly go wrong?

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