Why New Bedford Schools Banned Clackers
Clackers, or Clacker Balls, were among the most dangerous "toys" ever marketed. It's no wonder New Bedford school officials banned them in the 1970s.
I remember the Clackers craze well. It seemed to peak just around the time I landed at Normandin Junior High School in the early '70s. It seemed as though every kid had Clackers, and you could hear them a mile away as they clacked their way down the school corridors.
For those who don't remember Clackers, United Press International (UPI) described them this way in a February 12, 1971 article published by the New York Times: "The toy consists of two plastic balls, connected by a two-foot cord with a finger ring in the middle. The user slips on the ring and wiggles his finger up and down. The balls swing like pendulums and clack together, eventually clacking on the upswing and again on the downswing."
Users often slammed the Clackers so hard that they would shatter, sending shards of splintered plastic flying like shrapnel in all directions. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eventually banned the sale of Clackers.
Many original Clackers sets were made of two-inch tempered glass, making them more prone to shattering, thus the switch to acrylic plastic.
Before the FDA ruled on Clackers, the New Bedford School Department lowered the hammer. I don't recall who the Superintendent of Schools was at the time, but the word was handed down across the system that Clackers were no longer allowed on school property. Violators had their Clackers confiscated.
Clackers made a brief comeback in the '90s, but they never caught on. I guess '90s kids were smarter than '70s kids. A newer, less lethal version of Clackers is available at Amazon for $39.
I remember having a set of deep green-colored tempered glass Clackers. I also remember whacking myself in the head with them more than a few times while trying to show off.
Do you remember Clackers? Did you have them?