Air Blaster from Wham-O (1963)
Release date: 1963
Where to purchase: eBay
In 1963, Wham-O released Air Blaster, a toy gun that allowed children to “own the power of the wind.” Instead of firing pellets or suction darts, Air Blaster fired blasts of compressed air over 30 feet at intended targets.
To achieve the extended range, the patented, space-age toy utilized a cocking lever and an internal rubber diaphragm to push air through its funnel-shaped barrel. Air Blaster’s combination of airflow and friction was similar to the principle behind how smoke rings are produced.
Over the years, Air Blaster shipped with various cardboard shooting galleries, most notably an electric gorilla target that tracked how many times it was hit. The gun underwent various design iterations before disappearing from store shelves in the late 1970s due to safety concerns when the toy was fired at close range.
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