Thursday, February 20, 2014
SuperBall® is another product from Wham-O who brought us Hula Hoops, Frisbees, and the Slip’N Slide. It was rumored that the rubber came from a sacred tree in India known only to yogi adepts, but it was Norman Stingley who combined polybutadiene with other ingredients under high pressure to make the 92% rebound of a true SuperBall®. At the peak of the fad, in the mid-sixties, production stood at 170,000 per day. No wonder we’ve collected bags-full. Soon after they were introduced they were imprinted with the logo of three interlocking ovals, signifying something atomic was going on.
As a promotional stunt, a bowling ball size SuperBall® was made and dropped from a 23rd floor rooftop. On its first rebound it smashed a convertible car to bits. In Orange County, California, thousands escaped from their containers when the factory was torn down, an urban legend that proved true. Load after load went bouncing into an empty lot where kids collected barrels and boxes of them. Edmund Scientific, purveyors of magnets and optics and cool science-y gizmos, sells an anti-super ball that eerily stays put when dropped.