Explore these ideas and more!

Instant glue, 1973 One drop of this instant glue formed a bond between man and hammer in five seconds. We called it an instant hazard--and rated it Not Acceptable.

Test of television consoles, 1960.

Sunglasses, 1952 We test 38 brands -- and find 23 of them Not Acceptable.

Automatic electric toasters, 1956 In our tests of 22 models, three that are otherwise high in overall quality also present a serious shock hazard. We rate them Not Acceptable.

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.

Ballpoint pens, 1949 The average price has recently dropped from 9 dollars to less than a dollar. One of our tests uses this device, which measures how long each pen lasts before running out of ink.

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.

Permanents, 1938

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.

Happy homemaker

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.

olden timey binocular view

Pocket totalizer, 1960. The Clicker Quik-Chek lets you quickly check your total purchases--or double-check the sales clerk--by clicking off the price of each item.

Vintage 1960s Lady Schick Crown Jewel Model100 by VictoryIssweet,

LaneBryant (1)

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.

Girl with Edison Phonograph, c.1910

Blue jeans, 1956. To test resistance to tearing, the wedge-shaped part of this device is released to see if it tears the blue-jean fabric.


Young White Bull (the son of Joseph White Bull), a proud Minniconjou Sioux boy. The Sioux tribe that was near exterminated from history at Wounded Knee. Photograph taken 1913.