Each TOY or GAME has a STORY to share with kids.
Today, it’s the Magic 8 Ball’s turn to tell its story (with a little help from Grandma Sharon)…
WHAT is the MAGIC 8 BALL: The Magic 8 Ball looks like a large “8 ball” from a pocket billiards game. Inside the Magic 8 Ball are mysterious messages that are revealed to the players of the Magic 8 Ball game.
WHO invented the MAGIC 8 BALL, WHEN & WHERE: The STORY of the Magic 8 Ball is so woven with people that we may wish the Magic 8 Ball to tell us: Ask again later.
But, as the STORY goes…
Back in 1946, Abe Bookman of Alabe Crafts Company in Cincinnati, OH invented the Magic 8 Ball.
But wait. Don’t count on it, as the Magic 8 Ball might say.
The idea for the Magic 8 Ball was the brainchild of Mary Carter, a fortune teller and psychic, who had created something called the Psycho-Slate. The Psycho-Slate was a device with a chalkboard in an enclosed box, and answers to questions mysteriously appeared on the chalkboard.
Still with me?
Mary’s son, Albert Carter, thought his Mom’s idea had potential and created the Syco-Seer… marketed as the Miracle Home Fortune Teller. The Syco-Seer was a cylinder with message dies suspended in the liquid that would later be used in the Magic 8 Ball.
So does inventor Abe Bookman come in at some point? It is certain.
Albert Carter showed his Syco-Seer game to Max Levinson, a store owner in Cincinnati, and Levinson showed it to his brother-in-law Abe Bookman.
Ah! Back to Abe Bookman!
Carter and Bookman then formed the company Alabe Crafts to market the Syco-Seer. It was 1946.
Carter died before the patent for the Syco-Seer was assigned in 1948… but Bookman saw Signs point to yes.
Bookman experimented with a smaller and less expensive Syco-Seer designed to resemble a fortune teller’s ball, but his big break came when a company called Brunswick Billiards wanted to use balls that looked like pool balls in a promotional campaign.
In 1950, Alabe Crafts was hired to encase the fortune teller balls into large 8 balls and the Magic 8 Ball was born.
And as written on the Magic 8 Ball packaging, it’s been Solving Life’s Dilemmas Since 1950!
You may rely on it.
Grab your kids and grandkids a Magic 8 Ball and let the questions begin. One of 20 answers will magically appear to any question asked…
Of course, “ta-dah”, there is a method to the cylindrical reservoir, the icosahedral die, the dark blue dye, the transparent window and the raised letters. But all of that is secondary to the STORY of the Magic 8 Ball and the MAGIC of the Magic 8 Ball. Let your kids in on its story!
Join me here each day in July for TOY STORIES on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a little “ta-dah!”