Ecology kits, 1973 This Mr. Wizard kit, as its name implies, consists entirely of culturing molds and bacteria. That should be done only under professional supervision--even if you don't follow the kit's suggestion that you culture matter from dirty garbage cans. We rate it Not Acceptable.
Household extension ladders, 1973 We judge overall rigidity, which combines resistance to bending, twisting, and side sway, by making close side-by-side comparisons of ladders at their fullest extension.
Candy pellets, 1973 For a nickel, a kid who buys Orbits with Blower gets a packet of tiny, hard candy pellets and a fairly large-bore plastic straw. It's dangerous to other kids when used like a pea shooter--and dangerous to a kid who might easily inhale the pellets.
Kids' sneakers, 1956. We tested 29 brands with the assistance of more than 300 boys and girls living in four New England orphanages. Among our incidental findings: City kids wear out the soles first; country kids wear out the uppers first.
Carpet sweepers, 1959 Most are relatively easy to empty: Spread newspapers on the floor, tip up the sweeper with one hand, and reach down with the other hand to pull on a metal tab. Empty the sweeper each time before you store it, we add, or whenever it gets too full.
Nerf balls, 1971 Nerf balls, 1971 The Official Nerf Ball is tested for flammability against the standard set by the 1969 Child Protection and Toy Safety Act. The Nerf Ball failed, bursting into flames about two seconds after contact with a lit match.
Record changers, 1950 The world of records has become complicated: three speeds, three diameters, two groove widths, and two center-hole sizes. But we've found a new record changer, the Webster, that can accommodate any of these formats and play a stack of 10 or 12 records. But it's not completely automatic. With 45-rpm records, it plays the last record endlessly.