In The 1960s, The Wham-O Corporation Accidentally Destroyed A Car With A Giant?
Answer: Bouncy Ball
You could easily argue that the toy company Wham-O put bouncy balls on the map with their introduction of the Super Ball bouncy ball in 1965. The balls are made of an incredibly bouncy synthetic rubber (Zectron) invented by chemist Norman Stingley and are capable of almost returning to their previous position when statically dropped and will easily bounce over a house if thrown forcefully at the ground by an adult.
While the typical Super Balls were just shy of 2″ in diameter, in the late 1960s Wham-O cooked up a promotional stunt idea (and a giant Super Ball to go with it). To demonstrate how high the ball could bounce, they scaled up the typical 2″ ball to around the size of a bowling ball (roughly 8-9″). They dropped the super-sized Super Ball out of a twenty-third floor hotel window in Australia. It bounced back up an impressive fifteen stories and then promptly, now moving at an angle, plummeted down and crushed a parked convertible car.
If reading about Super Balls has hit you with a bit of nostalgia (and perhaps a recollection of breaking a window or two with the energetic toy in your youth), you’ll be happy to hear they’re still in production. While sales will likely never reach the hundreds-of-thousands-per-month briskness the Super Ball experienced in the 1960s, you can still buy the balls, original formula and all, at toy stores across the world.
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