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Mattel’s 1960s Vac-U-Form Playset – Damn You Modern Safety Standards!

Mattel Vac-U-Form (Images courtesy Sam's Toybox)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s another example where the previous generation occasionally had better toys than we did. Back in the 60s Mattel sold this Vac-U-Form playset allowing kids to reproduce pretty much any small object they could fit into its mold. Using the Vac-U-Form was as easy as clamping a piece of plastic into a hinged frame and then heating it over a metal plate. When the plastic was soft enough to be molded the frame was swung over to the other side and pressed over the object you wanted to duplicate. As you pressed down a vacuum was formed, sucking the plastic into shape. Pretty much the same way vacuum forming is done today.

Of course if such a toy existed today, not only would it be missing that exposed metal heating plate, but it would probably come with a warning that the Vac-U-Form should only be used for making backup copies of your existing toys, and not for making copies of toys to be distributed to friends.

[ Sam’s Toybox – Vac-U-Form ] VIA [ Architectradure ]







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  • Earthworm

    lol

  • DJK

    My brother had a Vac-U-Form. I can attest that burnt fingers were a recreational hazard. But anytime I smell melting plastic I remember this toy.

  • just an engineer

    You can still do this with Kraft American Cheese singles. Just let them dry in any shape you like.

  • datgnat

    I had a vac-u-form; played with it a looong time. The pieces of plastic were perforated along the edges, like dot-matrix printer paper (remember that?), in order that they were held in the correct position over the mold. I remember the smell to this day: I daresay that it was slightly toxic. These days they warn you about the volatiles in your car''s dashboard, but here I was heating thin sheets of plastic to melting-point.

  • steve

    i want one!!

  • Centerman

    Very interesting. I wish that the pictures of the product were a little better.

  • will

    my dad had one of these and i got to play with it

  • Forcemaster2000

    I wish I could get one of these today! Looks like fun!

  • http://www.planetparanormal.com Bob

    Yup I nearly lost my fingers due to the molten plastic..great toy though..

  • http://ned.carolinaharkeys.com/ Ned Harkey

    Vac-U-Form was one of my favorite toys. I remember buying additional plastic sheet bundles many times over some of which included metallic gold and silver pieces. We even made moldings of Hot Wheels cars! It was an awesome toy! I would still have mine if my dad had not recently thrown it out after cleaning out the attic when he sold his house..!

  • http://www.bapetalk2.com a_smith

    WOW thst looks like a good time.

  • Samantha

    that is pretty awesome. I could have made lots of fun stuff with it.

  • Alex

    My brother and I had one. It was great! Kids today don't know what they're missing. They're such little wimps, made that way by their craven parents afraid to let natural selection do its work.

  • Alex

    My brother and I had one. It was great! Kids today don't know what they're missing. They're such little wimps, made that way by their craven parents afraid to let natural selection do its work.