For those who celebrate Easter, or for those who enjoy Easter candy (and entertainingly informative articles), this post is for you. Have you ever thought, “Who ever came up with the idea of a plastic toy egg?” or “How can I keep all of this plastic grass off of my floors?” Easter is this Sunday, April 8th and we’ve compiled a list of 5 inventions to explain the unusual wonders of Easter.
1) The Peep
Probably one of Easter’s most popular gifts is the Peep. Whether it means recreating famous movie scenes with various characters, or blowing up this supposedly indestructible candy in the microwave, Peeps hold a special place in the hearts of those who celebrate the holiday. So how did they get to be so popular?
In 1953, the Just Born Candy Company bought Rodda Candy Company and quickly become fascinated with its production of marshmallow chicks. At the time, the chicks were made by hand at the rate of 27 hours per peep. By 1954, Peeps were being produced by the masses. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that Peeps started becoming available in new shapes for different holidays, and it took until the 1980s to release the bunny shaped Peep. Peeps are constantly evolving, with new versions adding to their sugary, sweet, goodness. Their newest family member? Chocolate covered Peeps. (Image courtesy of marshmallowpeeps.com)
2) Hinged Plastic Easter Egg
Imagine an Easter egg hunt with real, hard-boiled eggs. There is always a risk that the treasure hunters leave behind one or two hidden eggs. Flash forward by a month and consider the result of a month-old, non-refrigerated egg (never mind the smell of finding it a year later). In November of 1978, Highland Manufacturing and Sales Co., Inc. was issued a patent for their invention that would change egg hunts forever, creating hollow, plastic, colorful eggs. Another advantage of this invention besides a serious lack of smell? You can put prizes and candy inside! Yum!
3) Cadbury Crème Eggs
Not only did someone decide to hollow out an egg, make it plastic, and allow it to open, another inventor decided to make an egg out of chocolate, fill it with delicious fondant, and wrap it in foil. It’s hard not to love this delectable candy, which was introduced in 1923, but the Cadbury Crème Eggs that we love today weren’t actually developed until the 1970s. Originating in Birmingham, UK, Cadbury Eggs are made by pouring half of a chocolate egg, filling it with white and yellow fondant (to mimic an actual egg with yolk), sealing the other half of the egg, cooling it, and then wrapping it in that quintessential foil. Today, the eggs are now also manufactured in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. (Picture courtesy of Hershey’s)
4) Connected Decorative Grass
As the name of the patent implies, this inventor, Christine Marie Mikulas, came up with a solution to the problem that plagues parents at Easter time. How does someone line their basket with green grass without creating the inevitable mess?
Even the abstract of this patent has tones of frustration in its first sentence: “Although typical decorative grass is useful for lining containers such as Easter baskets to provide an attractive and cushioned nest, such decorative grass has the disadvantage of creating messes wherever individual strands of the grass fall.” The Answer: group the strands together at the base of the basket. Thank you, Ms. Mikulas, for saving Easter celebrators a trip to the closet for the broom and dustpan.
5) Mechanical Action Toy Rabbit
Rabbits are the quintessential figure of Easter. In 1960, inventor Lynn O. Short, was issued a patent for a “Mechanical Action Toy Rabbit.” What is that, exactly? Have you ever seen one of those small plastic toys that, when it was pulled back and released, zoomed forward and then if it was pulled back again, it zipped forward again? Well, a “Mechanical Action Toy Rabbit” is just that. It’s a small toy that is made to simulate the actions of a real rabbit to amuse children. And maybe even some adults!
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