Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ah, the Bubble Wrap Generation.

Paint.

Traces of lead. In paint.

That's what toys are getting recalled for these days. Well, that, and having small parts that could theoretically be swallowed by children. This sounds a little bizarre to those of us who grew up in an era when Sears would sell you half-inch high toy soldiers that were actually made entirely of lead. Toxic, inhalable, and for the hat trick, they also depicted guns, making them the perfect kryptonite for the modern toy world; I've never owned any lead soldiers, but now I want to buy some just for that reason.

Our grandparents survived the Depression and gave Hitler a stomping. Our parents invented Woodstock and made the cops invent tear gas. We watched TeeVee and played Atari, and our children are swaddled in bubble wrap. Devolution in four generations; sic transit gloria mundi.

20 comments:

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Yup, now you have to get your 1/2" lead-containing toy soldiers from the hobby shop :)

At least, I think they still have a little lead...

Mark said...

I felt quite startled and gratified that the Lego spaceship I bought t'other day had an actual, firing spring-powered projectile launcher, and just a small warning saying "If you shoot this into your eye, it will hurt".

There's hope. There was a spate of toys which wouldn't actually progress from "twang" to "whizz" - that seems, thank Whoever, to have passed.

A small thing to take hope from? Indubitably. These days I'll take any shred of silver lining I can lay hands on.

Rabbit said...

I've got a set of Lawn Darts I intend to enjoy with my grandchildred (should the Incubii provide me with any) in my retirement years.
I need to go clean out the garage at Mom's and find all my old toy guns and fun stuff, too.

My brother's youngest is 12; time for his Uncle to pony up for that traditional 'first new .22'. I'm thinking CZ or Marlin.

Regards,
Rabbit.

BobG said...

And the succeeding generation will be known as Nerfs-R-Us.

Arthur said...

"Sears would sell you half-inch high toy soldiers that were actually made entirely of lead. "

Well, more fun still, they'd sell you the casting kit to melt your own alloy at several hundred degrees then pour the molten metal into the molds to make your own toy soldiers.

Tam said...

Sweet!

How did any child survive?

HTRN said...

Tam, forget buying them - Places like Sears used to sell Molds for boys to cast their own - they turn up regularly on Ebay, and new ones are available through some specialty retailers.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Man, I used to cast my own lead soldiers as a kid! How did I ever survive!

My personal belief... the human race will not evolve or progress in any way as long as my shampoo bottle has intsructions on it, and a warning not to drink the stuff.
A race to stoopid to deal with shampoo is doomed.

Billy Beck said...

Eloi.

Anonymous said...

I started casting my own lead bullets and playing with them. Does that count?

Tokarev

DirtCrashr said...

Sheesh, all's I got was a mold to make rubbery spiders and bugs. Maybe that was just a training device for FutureFood...

comatus said...

I also used to play with the little blobs of quicksilver from broken thermometers. We kept a glass bottle of toluene in the garage, and cleaned the radio tuner with carbon tet. Any takers?

Interesting juxtapostion here: sort of an O Tamara! O Mores!

The great houses of 'Wome' devolved in only four generations, and until pretty recently we thought the cause was... lead poisoning. Not from China, at least.

Truth told, I still haven't cozied up to flouride in the water.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere in the garage I think I still have a bottle with about two pounds of mercury in it. And don't ask about the several hundred pounds of lead there. I like to think of that as baby bullets, heh.

jimbob86 said...

I had nearly a HUNDRED lead figures (Ral Partha or Grenadier ring a bell to anyone here?) for tabletop Dungeons and Dragons battles............ and if Mrs. Fauntelroy from The Society For The Preservation Of Everything ever found out how much mercury got swiped from the chem lab and was subsequently dropped on the floor at my high school, she die of apoplexy. Someone find her and tell her.....

Oldsmoblogger said...

I remember Ral Partha and Grenadier, jimbob, and I'll raise you Martian Metals. ;-)

I've got more of those metal miniatures than I can count (10mm Seven Years' War, 15mm American Civil War, 1/285 scale and 10mm WWII).

As for molds, you can now buy molds from an outfit called Prince August, although casting my own doesn't really appeal to me (and the scale is wrong). You can also sculpt your own and find you a moldmaker to cast them for you. Finally, if you have more money than time, you can send your unpainted figures off to Sri Lanka, where they will be painted to a fairly high standard.

It's a great time we live in, filled (as always) with a lot of screwy people.

Mauser*Girl said...

See, the thing is ... it's easier for parents to complain and get law makers to have the toy industry change it's materials, manufacturing procedures, and what they manufacture.

Easier, apparently, than telling your kids not to stick the f**** thing into its mouth!

comatus said...

Any old car guy will be glad to tell you that we lost 10-15% of the national auto fuel supply when we gave up tetraethyl additive. Coincidentally, this occurred at the same time as the great gas shortage. And, though I'm a stainer, not a painter, some have told me that a great deal of paint's usefulness in preserving wood went away with the removal of lead from exterior paint.

Now the good part: the only surveys that ever showed extensive consumption of lead, or bad effects from it, took place in a housing project in Chicago that was built and spec'ed by, you guessed it, the federal government.

Mercury has a similar history, but in Canada.

Anonymous said...

You're not supposed to drink shampoo? Damn.

doubletrouble said...

Tam, I a way bit older than you, & if you can believe it, I still have my lead soldier (& a cannon) molds from when I was a crumb snatcher. They’re Civil War guys, & my folks had bought me the melting pot & everything. I can still remember that cool smell of the molten lead.
‘Course, I can’t remember much else.
If you want I should make you a lead soldier, lemmeno!
I’m still goofball enough where I’ll cast some bullets, a few round balls, a soldier or two…

Diamondback said...

Somewhere around are old molds for soldiers that belonged to dad when he was a kid. I remember him pulling them out when I was a kid when he was casting some bullets. He'd sometimes cast a soldier for "old times sake" and hand it to me when it had cooled a bit. The molds date back to the 40's I believe. Speaking of "scary" toys, I had a wood burning set as a kid as well as a couple of chemistry sets that had Hazardous chemicals. I can remember making black powder from scratch a few times.