I was told as a kid that a Magic 8 Ball could predict the future. I bought it hook line and sinker…I was also told by my older sister (8 years older) that snakes bite the second person in a line while I was merrily leading the way hiking in the woods as a 5-year-old…so I caught on pretty quick after I stepped on a snake…didn’t get bit though…but I never let her forget it.
I bugged my mom till she got me the mysterious Magic 8 Ball. I was amazed at this toy…well it wasn’t a toy to me. I thought this was great. So being 5-6 years old I thought I would put it to use… Oh, Magic 8 Ball should I color in the encyclopedias with my crayons? I shook it up and waited for the triangle to give me the answer… “signs point to yes”…those signs must have pointed in a different direction than my Mom… she wasn’t a fan of the Magic 8 ball after that.
Abe Bookman invented the Magic 8 Ball, a fortune-telling toy currently manufactured by Mattel.
During World War II Alfred Carter in Cincinnati had created a tube-like fortune-telling toy. To help him he got his brother in law to help…that would be Abe Bookman. they created a 7” tube device with glass on both ends with a pair of floating dice with responses. It was sold as the “Syco-Seer: The Miracle Home Fortune Teller.” Their company was called Alabe Crafts.
Carter died in 1948 and Bookman revised it into a crystal ball but it still didn’t sell really well. Then the Brunswick Billiards company commisioned Bookman to make them one for them shaped like an 8 ball as a promotional giveaway.
After the giveaway was finished Bookman kept producing them shaped like an 8 ball.
The Magic 8 Ball that we have known since then has contained a 20-sided polygon inside a hollow plastic ball, floating in a liquid-filled, 3-inch diameter tube. The liquid largely consists of dark blue ink and alcohol. The predictions, yes, no, or non-committal, appear on each triangular face of the polygon.
Bookman marketed it as a conversation piece, a paperweight and then a toy.
Ideal Toys bought Alabe Crafts in 1971. Next, Tyco Toys bought the ball in ’87. Mattel owns it today and sells one million units a year.
Here are the magical statements of the Magic 8 Ball
- As I see it, yes
- Ask again later
- Better not tell you now
- Cannot predict now
- Concentrate and ask again
- Don’t count on it
- It is certain
- It is decidedly so
- Most likely
- My reply is no
- My sources say no
- Outlook good
- Outlook not so good
- Reply hazy, try again
- Signs point to yes
- Very doubtful
- Without a doubt
- Yes, definitely
- You may rely on it.