Humming A Few Bars of Tiny Bubbles . . .

Jan 28th

Do you remember elementary school?  The teachers would attempt to instill some sort of musical appreciation into a room full of wriggly 1st graders, line them all up, hand them plastic Kazoos and away they’d go.  Oh my! The noise. . . . um, the music! Yeah, that’s it.  Happy Kazoo Day!  This day celebrates the joy of this musical instrument for young and old.   A man by the name of Alabama Vest from Macon, George made the first Kazoo in the 1840’s.  Well, truth be told, he thought up the Kazoo, and had a German clock master by the name of Thaddeus Von Clegg, make the Kazoo to his specifications.  The commercial production of the Kazoo didn’t happen until years later, in 1912.  The manufacturing was first started by Emil Sorg in western New York.  Sorg joined up with Michael McIntyre – who was a tool and die maker in Buffalo.  They moved production to Eden, NY and the factory remains there today. Alabama Vest of Macon Georgia made the first Kazoo in the 1840’s. Actually, he conceived the Kazoo, and had Thaddeus Von Clegg, a German clock master make it to his specifications.  The best part of all of this?  This fun instrument was conceived, designed, and manufactured in the USA!  Woohoo!   Kazoos are very easy to play. You simply hum a tune into the kazoo, and suddenly you’re an expert. Kazoos can be played solo, or in groups (as in the 1st grade class example above) and iIt plays a great tune both ways.  What do you do on National Kazoo day? Well . . . duh . . . you play the Kazoo!

How many of us LOVE LOVE LOVE popping the bubbles on bubble wrap?  I know I do! It’s entertaining and it’s many times even therapeutic.  If you’re having a horrible day, making some racket popping all of those little bubbles will just make it all better. Yes, if you haven’t guessed already, today is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!  It isn’t difficult for me to figure out why someone actually set aside a day to appreciate this amazing invention.
Have you ever wondered how Bubble Wrap® packaging is made?  Well, it starts as a plastic resin, in the form of beads about the size of pea gravel.  The beads go into a long cylinder with a screw inside that runs its entire length. As the screw is turned, heat builds up and the resin melts into a liquid that is squeezed out of the cylinder into two stacked sheets of clear plastic film. One layer of the film is wrapped around a drum with holes punched in it, and suction is applied drawing one web of film into the holes that form the bubbles. The second layer of film is then laminated over the first so that when the two films are joined, they stick together and trap the air in the bubbles.
This may sound easy, but polyethylene (the plastic) is a porous material like a sponge. Air can easily leak out through the pores, which tends to limit the cushioning ability of the packaging. Realizing this, the manufacturer started using a Saran coating to seal the air in the bubbles. Eventually, a method of creating an air retention barrier in the plastic during the extrusion process was developed. This process though, is a trade secret.
In 1957, in a garage in Hawthorne, NJ, two engineers – Marc Chavannes and Al Fielding invented bubble wrap. Marc and Al were trying to make a plastic wallpaper with a paper backing. Surprisingly, this product didn’t take off. They realized, however, that their invention could be used as a cushioning packaging material. At that time, only abrasive paper products were used for packaging, and they weren’t very good for cushioning heavy or delicate items. Marc and Al raised $9,000 to fund a developmental
production line. They incorporated Sealed Air Corporation in 1960, and today, Sealed Air is a leading worldwide manufacturer of numerous protective and specialty packaging materials with annual revenues exceeding 3 billion dollars.  Not too shabby for what turned out to initially be a failed invention for something else!

Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day was started by “Spirit 95” Radio, an FM radio station in Bloomington, IN in 2001. They held their 1st annual Bubblympiad with games such as a Bubble Wrap® popping relay, Pop-a-Mole (similar to a well-known carnival game), and sculpture and fashion design contests.  I looked up things made with bubble wrap!  Oh my gosh – do a search! I don’t typically show pictures with people’s faces in them (unless it’s my family) or I could have put a bunch of really elaborate bubble wrap fashion pictures – but this dress came up without a person in it. It’s ALL bubble wrap! That’s pretty wild, isn’t?

In a world that feels sometimes like it’s gone crazy and is spinning out of control, days of simple, fun and childlike celebrations are good to have.  Today is just one of those days.  If you don’t have a Kazoo, I’m betting you can find one in your area where toys are sold.  Just pick one up if you have the time and hum a few bars.  I can pretty much guarantee you’ll have a smile on your face when you’re through.  I personally will be celebrating with these two sheets of bubble wrap that I received in a package yesterday.  Normally I would have discarded them right away, but I saved them and now I’m so glad! After work I’m going to come home and have a bubble popping celebration with my hubby.  No matter whether you play a Kazoo, or play Pop-A-Mole, do it with a happy heart.  God bless you today, and every day.  I’ll see you tomorrow!  (pop – pop – pop – snap – pop . . . )

One Comment on “Humming A Few Bars of Tiny Bubbles . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *