Alan Mays

Alan Mays

Posted on 08/15/2014


Photo taken on August 14, 2014


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advertising giveaways
Whirlpool
typefaces
humming
ephemera
1960s
whirling
printed
RCA
appliances
fonts
musical notes
spinners
promotional giveaways
giveawys
spin it
pre-punched
home appliances
Whirlpool Corp.
paper toys
promotional products
die cuts
hummers
illustrations
logos
boys
circles
toys
old
vintage
white
stars
children
paper
blue
music
type
girls
spinning
notes
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typography
geometric
cardboard
Humming Spinner
Whirlpool Humming Spinner
button buzzers
whirring
buzzing
buzzers
whirligigs
ads
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Whirlpool Humming Spinner

Whirlpool Humming Spinner
"Whirlpool Humming Spinner. RCA Whirlpool Home Appliances. Spin it!"

This 1960s advertising giveaway came with string and instructions for removing the pre-punched center disk, opening holes to thread the string through, and pulling on both ends of the string in order to spin the disk, which produced a humming or whirring sound (the illustrations of the boy and girl show how this worked). Homemade "button buzzer" versions use a button instead of a cardboard disk.

I was surprised to discover that this toy has a long and varied lineage. As Wikipedia explains in its buzzer (whirligig) article, "A buzzer (buzz, bullroarer, button-on-a-string) is an ancient mechanical device used for ceremonial purposes and as a toy. It is constructed by centering an object at the midpoint of a cord or thong and winding the cord while holding the ends stationary. The object is whirled by alternately pulling and releasing the tension on the cord. The whirling object makes a buzzing or humming sound, giving the device its common name."

Wikipedia also mentions that Native American made buzzers out of wood, bone, and stone for use in ceremonies and as toys as far back as 500 B.C. It's amazing to think that counterparts to the Whirlpool Humming Spinner were in existence more than twenty-five hundred years ago!

chris baker, Smiley Derleth, arts enthusiast, Angelica Paez have particularly liked this photo


7 comments - The latest ones
arts enthusiast
arts enthusiast
Can I just say that I am in awe of your collection? You have the most amazing stuff! Thanks for all the care and time you take in typing in your descriptions. I am guilty of not doing the same! (For lack of time and also general laziness).
2 years ago.
Alan Mays has replied to arts enthusiast
Oh, thanks so much, Ellie! That's so nice of you to say that! I try to convey why I find this sort of stuff so interesting, and I appreciate the time you've taken to look at and comment on my postings. I must say, though, that I'm amazed at the quality and variety of your collection, and I need to take time to look through more of it!
2 years ago.
arts enthusiast
arts enthusiast
This looks like something that might have been featured in this book (which I don't have but would like to buy some day): www.amazon.com/Mail-Order-Mysteries-Real-Stuff-Comic/dp/160887026X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1408228193&sr=8-2&keywords=mail+order+vintage
2 years ago.
Alan Mays has replied to arts enthusiast
Thanks, I actually have a copy of this and once I figure out what shelf it's on, I'll check to see if there's anything similar in it. You may be interested to know that one of Angelica's photos (I believe it's a boy with a rocket ship toy) is feautured in this book, too.
2 years ago.
Smiley Derleth
Smiley Derleth
A very thorough write-up, as arts says. Well-done.

Oh my, I remember iterations of these humming spinners in the toy department and dime store. I had a plastic one configured like a frog, rung around by a hollow tube with holes in it. It whistled softly when you got it spinning.
2 years ago.
Alan Mays has replied to Smiley Derleth
Thanks! The only one I can remember having as a kid was a homemade button-and-string version. As I recall, I kept it spinning for a couple of hours straight in the back seat of the car on the way to my grandparents' house.
2 years ago.
arts enthusiast
arts enthusiast
"Once I figure out what shelf it's on".....we are kindred spirits!!! (and thanks for the compliment to me collection). :)
2 years ago.