Watch Your Fingers

This was made in the early part of the 20th century as a child’s toy. They were produced in respectable numbers for quite a number of years. It uses 110v electricity, water, and hot steam to get all kinds of little finger breaky/pinchy/choppy bits whirling around. The safety manual with this one was probably a postage stamp sized piece of paper printed with “You’ll learn.”

This unit has been lovingly restored by its original owner who is a friend of my gunsmith. He had to wind new heating wire in the boiler and fabricate a handful of small parts from scratch. It’s cool to see it working. It would have kept me entranced for hours as a child.

This would never pass safety muster today. When I was a kid someone invented a thing called “lawn darts”. Those weren’t a really great idea either. How have we as a species survived this long given the kinds of toys we create?