Do You Remember These Fads from the Past?
Posted on October 14, 2016
Remember when you were younger and everyone seemed
to be obsessed with a new trend, no matter how silly it was? Whether it was a
clothing style, toy or activity, these fads defined past decades. Here are some
of the most popular fads America has witnessed in the last few decades.
The Slinky is a flexible, spring toy which can stretch and reform itself. Richard James first demonstrated the Slinky at a Gimbels department store. The toy was an instant hit. He sold all of his 400 units in ninety minutes. Thus began the nationwide craze for Skinkies.
Children loved how the toy seemed to walk down stairs all by itself. Or, how dropping it would make it appear as though it is levitating in the air because the top of the spring falls before the bottom. Although the toy is so simple, it provided children with hours of fun.
Makeup as Pantyhose
were a fashion must before the 1940s. It was considered inappropriate for
women to have naked legs in public. To address this, women covered up their
legs with silk or nylon stockings.
World War II started, the government had to ration silk and nylon for war
materials. That’s when women started to get creative. Women began staining
their legs with leg makeup and drawing stocking seams down the back of their
legs. This fad quickly ended once the war finished and women could buy real
pantyhose once again.
were drawn into the Mexican jumping bean fad by its mysteriousness. These magic
beans jump around all on their own.
causes these beans to jump is quite strange. These “beans” are actually
seedpods with moth larvae trapped inside. The beans jump around when introduced
to heat, like a person’s warm hand. This jumping motion happens when the
larvae throw their bodies against the seed to avoid the heat.
Putty is a goopy, bouncy, moldable toy. Scientists created this
toy when searching for a plastic substitute during World War II. Instead,
they stumbled upon Silly Putty. The rest is history.
1949, orders began pouring in for the item that was originally thought to have
no purpose at all. Kids loved how Silly Putty had the properties of both a
solid and a liquid. Kids loved how it could even take the picture right off
The poodle skirt was a must have fashion item for girls of all ages during the ‘50s. The design was a knee-length, felt circle skirt with a poodle design transferred onto the fabric. As the trend went on, other designs such as flowers, cats, or guitars were applied.
The skirt was worn for many occasions such as the school dances, a.k.a. sock hops, or for everyday wear. This look was so popular that it is often what is first thought of when people reference the 1950s.
theaters are outdoor movie theaters that you drive your car into. You are able
to watch a movie projected onto a screen from the privacy and comfort of your
as a classic first date spot, drive-in movies rose to popularity during
the 1950s. Drive-ins didn’t gain widespread popularity until a couple decades
after it was first patented.
theaters were enjoyable for any age group. Teenagers loved the privacy
drive-ins gave them. Parents jumped at the chance to be able to take their rowdy
children out to the movies for once.
Hooping involves twirling a hoop around your waist, neck, or arms repeatedly.
Children loved to hoop for hours since it could be done with friends or alone.
Toy Company created this craze when they invented the first plastic hula hoop.
In 1958, national marketing and giveaways encouraged purchases of 25
million plastic hula hoops in just 4 months.
most fads, this one came and went in one year. Students attempted to stuff as
many people as they could into one telephone booth. The fad began when 17
men crammed themselves into a seven-foot-high phone booth at UCLA. Although short-lived,
telephone booth stuffing became a huge fad for university students across
record holders established ground rules. They stated that the phone booth
must be regular sized and at least half of the contender’s body must be in the
phone booth. Some record holders stated that an actual phone call had to be
placed or received for the record to count.
The Lava Lamp is a decorative tube filled with a goopy mixture that creates cool shapes when plugged in. Edward Craven-Walker invented the lava lamp after witnessing a homemade egg timer at his local pub. From there, he experimented with different shapes and materials to achieve the best product.
The lava lamp wowed the free spirited generation of the ‘60s. The psychedelic shapes and colors hypnotized this young crowd. This hip crowd kept it as a strong fad throughout the decade.
the Cold War, Americans feared the possibility of a nuclear war. In response,
families across the nation built their own bomb shelters in their
fallout shelters ranged in styles. Some were basic shelters with only a
few weeks’ worth of supplies. A few were fancier buildings equipped with
entertainment centers. When the threat of a nuclear holocaust faded out, this
fad ended. People then converted their shelters into wine cellars or play rooms
for their children.
plastic toy ball may be simple, but that didn’t stop it from rocketing into
popularity. People loved these balls since they were able to bounce higher than
any other bouncy ball. By 1965, over 6 million Super Balls had been sold. The
ball can bounce by itself for a whole minute after it is dropped. This super
ball provided kids with hours of fun, until the fad ended.
troll doll may be one of the biggest toy fads the United States has ever
experienced. These dolls came in a variety of colors and had glass eyes and
hair made of sheep’s wool. Although from Europe, the newly
introduced toy quickly grew popular in the United States.
to buy and collect every different troll doll. This propelled the craze to a
level never seen before.
Have you ever desired a pet that you didn’t
need to feed, clean, or walk? The pet rock would be the perfect pet for you.
were smooth rocks with glued on squiggly eyes that came in their own straw
filled carrying boxes. In 1975, this toy
was created as joke for people who didn’t want all the work that comes along
with having a pet.
Rocks became so popular that the creator, Gary Dahl, sold 1.5 million of them
by the time the fad ended. The Pet Rock even came with a 32-page training
manual on how to train your brand new pet.
a Nice Day” Smiley Faces
nice day” is an expression that perfectly summarizes the attitudes of the early
‘70s. This phrase was often combined with an iconic smiley face image. Everything
from pins and shirts to coffee mugs and bumper stickers were printed with a
smiley face and the phrase “Have a nice day”.
combination seemed to perfectly symbolize the feelings of society at the
time. A society who was leaving the free-loving 1960s and entering the changing
party is a costume party where all attendees have to dress in a Roman or Greek
themed toga. Although toga parties may seem like a yearly staple at fraternity
parties now, it was once new and crazy. In 1978, after National Lampoon’s Animal House hit the theaters, every college
student across the country was in a toga party craze. Students donned their best bedsheet
and prepared for a night of excessive drinking.
as a fad hit its peak in the 1970s. People across the nation ran naked through
college campuses and sporting events. It was even done at the
Academy Awards. Streaking was usually done because of a dare, protest or even
height of this trend, college campuses arranged their own streaking events. At
these events, they attempted to reach the record of the most streakers at once.
The current record still stands with the University of Georgia. They had
1,543 people streaking on March 7, 1974.
Today and the Future
Fads are what define the
culture of past decades. Although many may seem
ridiculous, they are as important to American culture as apple pie. When you
witness today’s youth engaging in a strange activity, remember all the trends
you participated in when you were a kid. Your parents were probably just as
amused with you.
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