Strange change toy


The Strange Change Machine was a Mattel toy from the late 1960s, in which " shape memory " plastic figures of prehistoric animals & science fiction-like creatures could be reconstituted from compressed "time capsule" form, and re-compressed back into that form. The label on the box declares: "A Strange Change Toy featuring The Lost World," suggesting that perhaps this was the first of a proposed series. The "Lost World" was the only scenario produced with this toy before it was discontinued.

To reconstitute a figure, one would first pre-heat the "capsule" on the side of the machine, then toss it into the heating chamber, and close the door. Over the course of a few minutes, the plastic would soften enough for the original shape of the figure to reassert itself, and it would slowly open up into that shape. (Tongs were provided for removing the still-hot figure.)

To compress a figure back into "time capsule" form, one would place the figure into the heating chamber, until it began to sag slightly, then remove it with the tongs, stuff it into the open press, and crank the press closed. After a few minutes, the compressed figure would cool enough to retain its compressed shape.

The process is actually quite similar to the way heat shrink tubing works: in the case of the tubing, it is molded in its "shrunk" size, cross-linked (usually by exposure to certain types of radiation, such as electron beams) to convert it to a thermoset , then re-heated and stretched. In the case of Strange Change figures, the figure is molded (in what appears to have been polyethylene), exposed to electron beams to cross-link it, coated with a long-lasting release agent to keep it from sticking to itself when compressed, then (in much the same process described above, only with power equipment) compressed into "time capsule" form.


There! More fun that find a old Strange Change machine at the flea market! 14 day free trial ! No credit card required!

I have heard tell that ToyMax actually did produce a new strange Change Machine in the early 90's. This information comes from someone who actually owns one of the toys. Unlike the pictures features in early ToyMax catalogs the creatures were all made out of glow in the dark plastic. The machine worked with the aid of a light bulb (similar to that in the new series of Creepy Crawler toys). I am not sure where this toy was distributed widely or not, and this is the only one I have ever heard of. Update! You can sometimes find them on http://www.ebay.com

I have also heard that similar memory plastic toys are still being produced in Europe and can be opened using very hot water.

The Strange Change Toy was fairly unique in both concept and form. This is one of the few toys that Mattel made during the 1960's that is still just as good today as when it was made. (Well, if you use it too many times the memory plastic does not work all that good...)

The toy came in one of Mattel's most colorful boxes ever. Two sides were in full color and the ends and other two sides were in magenta, black on white cardboard. The side of the box, shown to the left, is a link to download a large version (519x248 42k aprox.) of the same picture to your computer.
The set consisted of a play mat/map, a vacuformed green set of strange looking mountains, the Strange Change machine itself, a pair of blue tongs, and sixteen fantastic time capsules.

The machine was the centerpiece of this toy. Unlike the squat and ugly Thing-Makers and Vac-U-Form machines this machine had a metallic cherry red finish and a futuristic plastic chamber on the top. The overall look gave the appearance of a 1960's time machine. In fact later versions (like the one shown above) were remarketed as "The Time Machine"

The Strange Change Machine was a Mattel toy from the late 1960s, in which " shape memory " plastic figures of prehistoric animals & science fiction-like creatures could be reconstituted from compressed "time capsule" form, and re-compressed back into that form. The label on the box declares: "A Strange Change Toy featuring The Lost World," suggesting that perhaps this was the first of a proposed series. The "Lost World" was the only scenario produced with this toy before it was discontinued.

To reconstitute a figure, one would first pre-heat the "capsule" on the side of the machine, then toss it into the heating chamber, and close the door. Over the course of a few minutes, the plastic would soften enough for the original shape of the figure to reassert itself, and it would slowly open up into that shape. (Tongs were provided for removing the still-hot figure.)

To compress a figure back into "time capsule" form, one would place the figure into the heating chamber, until it began to sag slightly, then remove it with the tongs, stuff it into the open press, and crank the press closed. After a few minutes, the compressed figure would cool enough to retain its compressed shape.

The process is actually quite similar to the way heat shrink tubing works: in the case of the tubing, it is molded in its "shrunk" size, cross-linked (usually by exposure to certain types of radiation, such as electron beams) to convert it to a thermoset , then re-heated and stretched. In the case of Strange Change figures, the figure is molded (in what appears to have been polyethylene), exposed to electron beams to cross-link it, coated with a long-lasting release agent to keep it from sticking to itself when compressed, then (in much the same process described above, only with power equipment) compressed into "time capsule" form.

The Strange Change Machine was a Mattel toy from the late 1960s, in which " shape memory " plastic figures of prehistoric animals & science fiction-like creatures could be reconstituted from compressed "time capsule" form, and re-compressed back into that form. The label on the box declares: "A Strange Change Toy featuring The Lost World," suggesting that perhaps this was the first of a proposed series. The "Lost World" was the only scenario produced with this toy before it was discontinued.

To reconstitute a figure, one would first pre-heat the "capsule" on the side of the machine, then toss it into the heating chamber, and close the door. Over the course of a few minutes, the plastic would soften enough for the original shape of the figure to reassert itself, and it would slowly open up into that shape. (Tongs were provided for removing the still-hot figure.)

To compress a figure back into "time capsule" form, one would place the figure into the heating chamber, until it began to sag slightly, then remove it with the tongs, stuff it into the open press, and crank the press closed. After a few minutes, the compressed figure would cool enough to retain its compressed shape.

The process is actually quite similar to the way heat shrink tubing works: in the case of the tubing, it is molded in its "shrunk" size, cross-linked (usually by exposure to certain types of radiation, such as electron beams) to convert it to a thermoset , then re-heated and stretched. In the case of Strange Change figures, the figure is molded (in what appears to have been polyethylene), exposed to electron beams to cross-link it, coated with a long-lasting release agent to keep it from sticking to itself when compressed, then (in much the same process described above, only with power equipment) compressed into "time capsule" form.


There! More fun that find a old Strange Change machine at the flea market! 14 day free trial ! No credit card required!

I have heard tell that ToyMax actually did produce a new strange Change Machine in the early 90's. This information comes from someone who actually owns one of the toys. Unlike the pictures features in early ToyMax catalogs the creatures were all made out of glow in the dark plastic. The machine worked with the aid of a light bulb (similar to that in the new series of Creepy Crawler toys). I am not sure where this toy was distributed widely or not, and this is the only one I have ever heard of. Update! You can sometimes find them on http://www.ebay.com

I have also heard that similar memory plastic toys are still being produced in Europe and can be opened using very hot water.

The Strange Change Toy was fairly unique in both concept and form. This is one of the few toys that Mattel made during the 1960's that is still just as good today as when it was made. (Well, if you use it too many times the memory plastic does not work all that good...)

The toy came in one of Mattel's most colorful boxes ever. Two sides were in full color and the ends and other two sides were in magenta, black on white cardboard. The side of the box, shown to the left, is a link to download a large version (519x248 42k aprox.) of the same picture to your computer.
The set consisted of a play mat/map, a vacuformed green set of strange looking mountains, the Strange Change machine itself, a pair of blue tongs, and sixteen fantastic time capsules.

The machine was the centerpiece of this toy. Unlike the squat and ugly Thing-Makers and Vac-U-Form machines this machine had a metallic cherry red finish and a futuristic plastic chamber on the top. The overall look gave the appearance of a 1960's time machine. In fact later versions (like the one shown above) were remarketed as "The Time Machine"

With Christmas just around the corner and millions of kids eagerly waiting to open presents, I thought it was a good time to look back at a few toys of the past. Considering the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  didn’t exist before 1972, late Baby Boomers got away with playing with a lot of toys in the 1960s-early 1970s that would never pass muster today. Some of these were toys I blogged about when I was waxing nostalgic for the Sears Wish Book of my youth. Kids who have been playing computer games since they were in diapers, with all sorts of other high-tech toys at their disposal, would likely turn up their noses at a few beloved toys of yesteryear .

My friend Myra once fell off her bike and suffered some bad scrapes on both knees and an elbow. And I had an incident with younger boys in the neighborhood chasing me on their bikes and trying to knock me off mine. I was wearing flip-flops (I know, really brilliant), and when one of them grazed my bike, I naturally put my feet down and scraped the skin off all of my toes.

I always loved biking and still do, but I will not ride without a helmet. Damn, I still bemoan the fact that my parents wouldn’t buy me that cool Schwinn Sting-Ray with a glittery metallic banana seat and handlebar streamers.

The Footsie toy , while relatively benign, certainly must have led to some falls on the playground, which back in my day was blacktop or cement. One version of this toy had a red bell-shaped object (that jingled inside) tied to a 2-foot plastic cord with a large yellow plastic ring on one end. With the Footsie ring on your ankle, you jumped over the cord and ball as it swung around. This activity could potentially cause you or nearby kids to trip and fall down. Popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I remember having several of these toys in the third or fourth grade. On a positive note, at least this toy encouraged physical activity, but I think today’s kids would say, meh!

The concept of the Thingmaker was first introduced in 1963, as an extension of Mattel’s “Vac-U-Maker” line. Thingmaker Creepy Crawlers by Mattel  was by far my absolute favorite toy as a kid and I got my first one in 1968. I spent hours in my room playing with this and spilling plastic goop on my carpet. I loved overfilling the metal molds just slightly so I could peel off the excess. I burned myself more than a few times and have the scars to show. I also had Creeple People and Incredible Edibles , but neither of these was as cool as the original Thingmaker. I cannot believe I played with this toy totally unsupervised starting at the age of 10!

The Slip ‘N Slide  and related products attained sales of more than 9 million units from 1961 through 1992. The product is intended for children, not adults. According to the 1993 CPSC recall, “Because of their weight and height, adults and teenagers who dive onto the water slide may hit and abruptly stop in such a way that could cause permanent spinal cord injury, resulting in quadriplegia or paraplegia. The slider’s forward momentum drives the body into the neck and compresses the spinal cord.”


STRANGE CHANGE TOY | eBay

Strange Change Machine - Wikipedia

    The Strange Change Machine was a Mattel toy from the late 1960s, in which shape memory plastic figures of prehistoric animals & science fiction-like creatures could be reconstituted from compressed time capsule form, and re-compressed back
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