Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Revealing The Mysteries Of The Magic 8 Ball

LOL 8 ball

It's an object filled with mystery, murky black ink, and an opinionated icosahedron. Am I talking about the Magic 8 Ball? Signs point to yes.

The Magic 8 Ball is a popular novelty fortune teller, that seems to have inspired more than its share of cautious dread. Bring up the Magic 8 Ball, and there will always be a couple of adults who will tell you it spooked them in their childhood. Coincidentally, the Magic 8 Ball's origins are fittingly otherworldly. Inventor Albert C. Carter was inspired in the mid 40s to create the novelty based on a "spirit writing" device used by his mother, a self-avowed clairvoyant. That's some provenance. Syco-seerCarter's 1944 patent for the device called it the Syco-Seer, first stuffing the die mechanism in a decorated cardboard tube, later styling it after a crystal ball. This was unsuccessful in stores, but it did catch the eye of Brunswick Billiards here in Chicago. They commissioned a new version that looked like an 8 ball, and somehow this captured the imagination of toy-aisle occultists.

RT8_logoEach side of the twenty sided die within the Magic 8 Ball has a simple answer to your yes-no questions. After querying the ball, you simply turn it over. For some reason some people insist on shaking the ball first, which creates bubbles that rather spoils the spooky effect of the die rising through the gloomy goo. The d20 (hello D&D fans!) offers one of 10 positive answers, 5 negative, and 5 milquetoast. Ever wonder what all of the possible answers are?


    ● It is certain
    ● It is decidedly so
    Magic 8 ball patent● Without a doubt
    ● Yes definitely
    ● You may rely on it
    ● As I see it yes
    ● Most likely
    ● Outlook good
    ● Yes
    ● Signs point to yes

    ● Reply hazy try again
    ● Ask again later
    ● Better not tell you now
    ● Cannot predict now
    ● Concentrate and ask again

    ● Don't count on it
    ● My reply is no
    ● My sources say no
    ● Outlook not so good
    ● Very doubtful

Before this turns into a story problem for you mathematicians, it takes an average of 72 "throws" for all 20 answers to each come up at least once. The Magic 8 Ball has become a classic toy, available today in bewildering variations. There's a USB powered one (no surprise), one full of memes for the A.D.D. txt'ing generation, and my favorite - one that curses you out. Will the Magic 8 Ball prognosticate over our problems for generations to come? You may rely on it.

I read recently that the iPhone's Siri gets one out of ever three searches wrong. With those kinds of odds, I'll just stick with carrying around a Magic 8 Ball instead.


Get your own Magic 8 Ball and help out Retro Thing!


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