In about a week, voting will be done and we'll finally know: Is bubble wrap a toy? Or just packaging material?
For those of you tired of politics as unusual, take a break and go over the list of finalists for the Strong's National Toy Hall of Fame, rather than scouring the latest poll results.
This year's list covers a range of both traditional toys — think coloring books — toys that tap into late Baby Boomer generation nostalgia — Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots or a Nerf foam ball anyone? — and the item that normally wouldn't fall into a toy category, Sealed Air Corp.'s Bubble Wrap.
As the Strong National Museum of Play, sponsors of the Toy Hall of Fame, put it in the nomination, the engineers who developed the protective film “soon discovered that the clear plastic sheets made great packing material for fragile items, and consumers also quickly saw the entertainment value in repeatedly popping the bubbles. This amusement factor even spurred an industry of virtual bubble popping — including key chain games and computer games.”
(For what it's worth, officially Bubble Wrap is a trade name that some would say should be capitalized, but here at Plastics News the editorial decision has been to use it as a generic phrase, lower case. Feel free to take up the pro-capitalization argument with Editor Don Loepp. And, in this case, the National Toy Hall of Fame, which also uses the non-capitalized version.)
It isn't guaranteed a spot in the Hall. Out of this year's 12 finalists, only two or three will be named during a Nov. 10 event at the museum in Rochester, N.Y.
In an online poll, bubble wrap is getting only 4.67 percent of the vote, trailing Transformers and Fischer-Price Little People. In a move that will surprise no one, the clear leader in this internet-based poll is Dungeons & Dragons.
If bubble wrap makes it into the Hall, it won't be the only non-traditional toy there.
Previous inductees include “stick,” inducted in 2008, and “cardboard box,” inducted in 2005.