Page 1 of 1

My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:15 pm
by kyote
Greetings all. Names David, I'm 27, and located in the great Pacific Northwest. This last weekend I picked up my very first ever Cracker Jack prizes. I was about four years old (late 1980's) the first (and last) time I saw a cracker jack prize removed from a box. It was a little blue magnifying glass, and my sisters. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I remember being quite upset that I didn't get one too. After that, I don't recall ever getting any "prizes" in my cracker jacks, only cheesy little basesball cards and other small disappointing pieces of paper.

I stopped at a garage sale this last weekend, and I came across a 9 x 12 piece of cardboard with 48 cracker jack prizes from the 1940's wired to it. The lady said she had collected them all when she was a little girl. They had a price of $2 each, I tired to make an offer on the whole lot, but her husband wouldn't budge on the price. Not knowing what they were worth I decided to just pick out a few of the most interesting ones I found. The ones I picked were: a white alligator, a scotty type dog with his ears back, the cracker jack sailor, and the one I though the most unique, a tiny japanese figurine that appears to be hand carved out of ivory. I looked on ebay, and seems the average price of the prizes of the 1940's is about $8.00. I have looked all over and couldn't find any of mine on there. Anyone know how rare these might be, perhaps how much they may be worth?

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:01 pm
by jdnola
Hi, David -

I think these charms are neat, and $2 is probably a good price, esp. for the sailor; but though I have many, I don't consider them to be Cracker Jack prizes. I have never discovered any documentation to indicate that they were ever used as Cracker Jack prizes: to my knowledge, none displayed in the COSI museum Cracker Jack exhibit, none in pictures from the Cracker Jack archives, none listed in company records.*

Thorough prize documentation maintained by The Cracker Jack Company from the time the charms were produced in the early 30's on do not indicate the celluloid charms were ever distributed as prizes, *with one particular exception: a celluloid elephant.

They are regularly listed on eBay as Cracker Jack, but of course that doesn't make it so. Some people refer to any little toy generically as "Cracker Jack," just as "Kleenex" might be used for any facial tissue.

Some other CJCA members may feel differently, but that's my opinion. I hold on to any of those charms that I get, but they aren't included in my Cracker Jack prizes collection. Maybe someone else has some evidence, and I can move my celluloid charms over to my Cracker Jack collection.

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:49 am
by LittleRockRob
David, I agree with jdnola, what you have there are all charms, not Cracker Jack prizes, in spite of what the lady said. Now, they are collectible too, but if you are truely interested in CJ, get ot the library and look for one or all of these:
Cracker Jack Prizes by Alex Jaramillo
Cracker Jack Toys by Larry White
Cracker Jack Collectables by Ravi Pina

Also browse this forum esp Is it or Isn't it and try these:

Happy collecting!

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:50 pm
by larrydw
Hello All,
My records show that Cracker Jack ordered 52 celluloid prizes and only 17 were identified (those were the prizes attached to the CJ inventory card. They were Z-981. The charms all were celluloid, had a brass charm ring and a silk cord thru the ring. There are bazillions of wannabees out there - and I had plenty myself!

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:39 pm
by jdnola
Archival records of The Cracker Jack Company identify the Z-981 charms as "Plastic charms on silk cord" and "Asst. of 52," as also described on the prize inventory card. These plastic charms made by Eppy (but obtained by Cracker Jack from a secondary source) are the same as those also issued by Eppy on various types of cardboard displays.

None in my collection identical to those of this series shown in Cracker Jack Collectibles (pp. 95-06) appear to be celluloid, but rather plastic as company records indicate. At any rate, none are of the celluloid type shown here.

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:45 pm
by Jeffrey Maxwell
This is exciting JD! I didn't remember that Eppy made CJ prizes, but now I remember a conversation with you about this years ago. Of course you know of my interest in charms from bulk vending, which was Eppy's main business. My question to you would be, "Can you put a date on the Z-981 charms?" If the only records you and Larry have showing charms on silk cord are those you have identified as Eppy, then I would agree that there is no evidence to support these earlier celluloid prizes as CJ -- BECAUSE Eppy (the largest importer and manufacturer of bulk vending toys in New York in the 1950s and early 1960s) only made injection molded plastic prizes. He wasn't in the manufacturing business yet when these celluloid prizes were made.

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:30 pm
by jdnola
Jeffrey, the date is 1942, but isn't this prior to injection molding? [I see now from your other post that you say there 1946.]

If so, apparently Samuel molded without injecting:

I think you are familiar with the Good Luck square cards showing a beanie cap with these same charms attached, one per card and labeled Eppy. Those also were Cracker Jack prizes. There is also the wishing well illustration version of these. According to the prize card with the beanie version attached, the earliest date is 1941. Though the prizes attached to cards only show beanie examples, I don't doubt that the wishing well cards are Cracker Jack as well. Still, I consider them "highly likely" rather than "definite," but highly likely enough that they are among my Cracker Jack prizes. I can't imagine Cracker Jack would have rejected the wishing well version, but it could be that Eppy only sent the beanie version.

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:34 pm
by Jeffrey Maxwell
1. The Celluloid charms were produced by means that were developed before the 20th Century.
2. EPPY used injection molding, a process that was commercially available beginning in 1936.
3. EPPY used polystyrene, a material that was commercially available beginning in 1936.
4. 1946 is the year that screw injection molding (a completely new form of injection molding) was invented and revolutionized the mass production process of consumer plastics.
5. See more complete details of injection molding below.

By Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

One could say that John Wesley Hyatt was behind the 8-ball when he invented a process to inject Celluloid into a mold to make billiard balls. He never received the $10,000 prize once offered by an ivory billiard ball company that originally inspired his discovery of Celluloid, but he did receive a patent for the first injection molding machine in 1872. This process used a basic plunger to inject the plastic into a mould through a heated cylinder. Hair accessories, game pieces, and other small items were made through this process -- including billiard balls.

"Who's behind those Foster Grants?" In 1919, when Sam Foster Jr. founded the the Foster Grant Company in Loeminster, Massachusetts to manufacture women's hair accessories (originally from natural materials), no one would have guessed that the company would become a pioneer in plastic injection molding. In the mid-1920s, hairstyles changed from long to short, so in order to stay profitable the company needed to come up with a new product – of course, sunglasses. Before this time, sunglasses were only sold to invalids through pharmacies. Foster Grant was the first brand of sunglasses that was sold as a fashion item directly to consumers beginning in 1929, when sales took off in the Woolworth's store on the Boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey, and sunglasses became the largest Depression-era fad in the United States when celebrities and world leaders started wearing them.

Sam Foster built an injection molding machine in 1931 to make combs out of cellulose nitrate. It was a more expensive (time consuming) hand process then, but it was the first truely successful commercial use of injection molding for a consumer product. In 1934, Foster Grant invented the first hydraulic injection molding machine -- used to make sunglasses. The factory also made a large variety of other injection-molded plastic products including barrettes, curlers, and combs for Goody Products (the New Jersey-based parent company that bought half of Foster Grant in 1929). By 1938, the Foster Grant company owned more than 100 injection molding presses. Leominster, Mass eventually became the major center for the US plastics industry, and the National Plastics Center and Museum was located there until it was closed last year. (I understand that UMass Lowell has part of the collection and is planning on putting together a smaller plastics museum on campus.)

The first commercially available plastics injection molding machine was produced by Reed-Prentice (also a Massachussetts company) in 1936. Commercial polystyrene was also introduced that year. This is the equipment and material that EPPY would use to make millions of prizes for bulk-vending and other markets -- including a limited number of Cracker Jack prizes.

1946 is an important date, because that is the year that James Hendry made the first screw injection molding machine, which had an auger in the place of Hyatt's plunger. This process was in wide commercial use by 1948. Almost all plastic injection molding machines use Hendry's screw system now. Hendry also developed the first gas-assisted injection molding process in the 1970s, which permitted the production of complex, hollow prizes that cooled quickly.

There are a number of reasons why screw injection molding is such an improvement over the previous injection molding method, because a lot of the necessary functions are combined as never before. But most importantly it meant that high-quality plastic products could now be produced much more rapidly at a fraction of the cost. So CJCO had available to it a wide variety of inexpensive toys that its customers saw as good quality.

So whether behind the 8-ball, or behind those Foster Grants, injection molding ultimately played an important role behind the development of plastic Cracker Jack prizes. I suppose it could be said that injection molding is one of the most important developments behind our consumer society.

Copyright 2011 by Jeffrey Scott Maxwell

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:38 pm
by jdnola
Very interesting information, Jeffrey.

Some additional Eppy info: a profile of Samuel Eppy I've come across says that when he was general manager of Gum, he had a mold built and started "pressing" a 52-charm series, whatever "pressing" means. Then he bought the mold from Gum and left that company to start his own. The charms were placed on cards which were sold through retailers at one cent each. The article goes on to say he also sold them to "the Cracker Jack people for prizes."

Jeffrey, in your research, have you seen "pressing" and "injecting" used synonymously in describing the process, or do these indicate different processes?

Re: My First Cracker Jack Prizes. One Made of Ivory.

Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:11 am
by Jeffrey Maxwell
Yep. I know that article well, Jim. The Billboard, May 5, 1958, page 124. I had forgotten that it mentioned sales to Cracker Jack. Cool.

When Eppy used the term "pressing," he was using a hydraulic injection molding machine, so in this case the terms "pressing" and "injection molding" refer to the same process. (Incidentally, all injection molding machines were hydraulic between 1936 and 1983.) The term "pressing" is used in many types of molding -- not just injection molding -- to refer to the action of pushing the heated thermoplastic (or other material) into the mold. In Sam Eppy's time they were using plunger-type injection molding presses which were much slower than the new recipricating-screw injection molding presses.

"Injection molding press" is sometimes used interchangeably with "injection molding machine", although somewhat inaccurately. Injection molding press is actually the mechanical part of an injection molding machine that takes care of the business end of plastics molding -- closes the mold, injects the heated plastic into the mold, opens the mold, and ejects the part. Most injection molding presses around the world are hydraulic presses except in Japan, where they use only electric presses (first made in 1983), which are quieter, faster and more accurate, but much more expensive.