The National Toy Hall of Fame has announced their finalists for the 2016 induction. Although a majority of the finalists are books, games, and toys, this year’s list of potential inductees also includes bubble wrap.
According to the company website, the National Toy Hall of Fame, which was founded in 1998, “recognizes toys that have inspired creative play and enjoyed popularity over a sustained period.”
Each year, the Hall of Fame accepts nominations through their website. In addition to offering a handful of popular nominees, the organization accepts write-ins.
This year, the organization suggested Cabbage Patch Kids, Barrel of Monkeys, Beanie Babies, Spirograph, Chutes and Ladders, Lite-Brite, the Magic 8 Ball, Gumby, Operation, and remote control cars. However, none of the suggested products were chosen as finalists for the 2016 induction.
The National Toy Hall of Fame 2016 finalists include bubble wrap, Care Bears, Clue, coloring books, Dungeons & Dragons, Fisher-Price Little People, Nerf toys, pinball machines, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, swings, Transformers, and Uno.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 14, 2016
A majority of the 2016 National Toy Hall of Fame nominees are clearly recognizable as toys and games. However, bubble wrap was not designed to be a toy.
As reported by Gizmodo, bubble wrap was invented by engineers Marc Chavannes and Alfred W. Fielding in 1957. Although it is most commonly used as a packing material, bubble wrap was originally designed to be three-dimensional wallpaper.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) September 14, 2016
Chavannes and Fielding’s wallpaper simply did not appeal to consumers. However, the engineers realized the product could be used protect fragile goods during shipping. In 1960, the men founded the Sealed Air Corporation and began selling bubble wrap as a protective packaging material.
As discussed by the National Toy Hall of Fame, bubble wrap also provided consumers with a creative “toy,” which has sustained its popularity over a period of more than 50 years.
“… consumers also quickly saw the entertainment value in repeatedly popping the bubbles. This amusement factor even spurred an industry of virtual bubble popping… including key chain games and computer games.”
If it is chosen as the National Toy Hall of Fame’s 2016 inductee, bubble wrap will join several other non-traditional toys, including the cardboard box, which was inducted in 2005, and the stick, which was inducted in 2008.
Other popular and more traditional Toy Hall of Fame inductees include Barbie, Big Wheel, Crayola Crayons, the Easy Bake Oven, Frisbee, Hot Wheels, and LEGO.
The 2016 National Toy Hall of Fame inductee will ultimately be chosen by the National Selection Advisory committee, which will announce their decision on November 10.
In stark contrast, Planet Dolan has compiled a list of the “15 Worst Toys,” which were all recalled due to safety concerns.
The disturbing list includes the original Easy Bake oven, which caused severe burns, Aqua Dots, which contained chemicals that metabolized in the notorious date-rape drug GHB, and lawn darts, which reportedly caused thousands of injuries and three deaths.
The list also contains yo-yo water balls, dive sticks, inflatable baby boats, Burger King Pokeballs, and the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab, which are all blamed for causing serious injury. In most cases, the toys were simply not used as directed.
Whether designed for children or adults, games and toys are an important part of American culture. Toys that stand the test of time, and remain popular throughout several decades are specifically unique.
All toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, are currently on display at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.
In addition to the National Toy Hall of Fame, The Strong offers a variety of interactive art, science, and historical displays, numerous games and toys, a butterfly house, several aquariums, and a DanceLab.
[Image via Olivier Le Queinec/Shutterstock]