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.