Toys today are much safer than those our parents had – and that's a good thing. Even though so many bemoan the "everyone gets a trophy" mindset, let's face it, some of the toys of yesteryear may have seemed like fun to the adults designing them, but they weren't the best idea in the hands of children.
Pointy metal fun.
The toys of our parents had amazing and fun features to them, features that can maim, poison, spear, or otherwise kill even an adult-size human being. Chances are good your mom and dad had toys that would have made Spartan and Viking parents wince.
1. Lawn Darts
Also called "Jarts," anyone over the age of 30 remembers lawn darts. They're pointed steel stakes with plastic stabilizer fins, weighted to always come down point first. The idea was to stand far from a marked target area, the toss the darts high in the air, so they come down within the area. Here's a Jarts game in action.
The English National Jarts Club squares off versus Scotland.
Playing with Lawn Darts is a great way to train for combat, even if it's for a primarily antiquated form of combat. Hell, this will definitely train you to find cover when anything starts flying.
2. The CSI Fingerprint Examination Kit
The prayers of all the 10-year-olds who watch CBS were finally answered when CSI's Fingerprint Kit hit shelves. Finally, pre-teens everywhere could solve mysteries and drop one-liners as they put on their sunglasses. The kit also helped kids learn how to operate in a chemical warfare environment, since the dust used to lift the fingerprints contained tremolite, a deadly form of carcinogenic asbestos.
Now that it's off the shelves I guess we can all...
... breathe easy.
3. The Atomic Energy Laboratory
Does your little one have the problem of being lumped in to some kind of "Axis of Evil?"
Second world problems.
Well, all you need to do now is go back in time and get your hands on the Gilbert Atomic Energy Laboratory. The U-238 Lab (yes, that was its name) came complete with radioactive materials to get the little Marshal and the glorious people's democratic revolutionary nuclear program up and running before he meets the same fate as Saddam.
Nuclear Programs: U.S. troop repellant.
4. Kite Tube
Ever wanted to practice some Navy SEAL skills in a CRRC when you were a kid? Not being a SEAL and not having a CRRC should have stopped no one. In fact, young kids could have had CRCC skills training and airborne training – at the same time. Enter the Kite Tube.
5. Splash Off Water Rockets
They aren't from North Korea, they just act like they are. The idea behind the Splash Off Water Rocket is that the main compartment would fill up with water pressure until it had enough pressure to slip the surly bonds of Earth.
Unfortunately for kids, instead of breaking Earth's bond, it shattered the compartment, launching plastic shrapnel in 360-degrees at water rocket velocity. So while this could teach kids to accept failure like the North Korean missile program, it could also teach them to dodge mortar and grenade shrapnel.
Pictured: Backyard Summer Fun.
6. Mattel's Sonic M Blaster
I'm not actually certain this was ever banned, but if it hadn't premiered in the 1950s, it would have been. Nothing beats letting your kids fire a compressed air gun that not only fired the burst of air but also was loud enough to rupture an eardrum at close range. It was a weapon meant for a young Snake Plissken.
7. Austin Magic Pistol
"Magic" in the way that a gun is magic.
You know it's a weapon when the size of the round in the toy is on the cover of the box. This 1940s-era muzzle-loaded "toy" used an explosive mix of calcium carbide (aka "Magic Crystals") and water to fire a ping-pong ball at high velocity.
Look at all the magic! MAGIC!