History of Jack-in-the-box Toys
Jack-in-the-box toys have been around for centuries and have origins dating back to ancient Greece. The modern version of the toy we know today originated in Germany in the 16th century, where it was called a “springing jack” or “jack-in-the-boxen”. These toys were originally made for adults and were used as a way to scare people. It wasn’t until the 18th century that Jack-in-the-box toys were made for children.
The Mechanics of the Toy
Jack-in-the-box toys are powered by a spring mechanism located inside the box. When the crank is turned, the spring is wound up, and when released, it spins a shaft with a crank attached to the toy’s head. The crank rotates a cam that moves the head up and down. A latch mechanism maintains the closed position of the lid keeping the figure hidden where it suddenly springs out when the lid is released.
Popular Culture References to Jack-in-the-box Toys
Jack-in-the-box toys have appeared in popular culture throughout the years. One notable example is in the nursery rhyme “Pop Goes the Weasel,” where the last line, “up pops the weasel,” refers to the toy springing out of the box. Jack-in-the-box toys have also been featured in movies such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Toy Story.”
The World’s Largest Jack-in-the-box Toy
The world’s largest Jack-in-the-box toy is located in San Diego, California. It stands at 60 feet tall and is part of a fast-food chain of the same name. The toy features a life-size clown figure and is equipped with animatronics that allow its head to spin and its arms to move.
Jack-in-the-box Toys Around the World
Jack-in-the-box toys go by many different names around the world. In the UK, the toy is known as a “Jack-in-a-box,” while in France, it’s called a “Vieux Pierrot.” In Japan, there’s a variation of the toy called a “tsurushi-bina,” which is a ball-shaped doll hung from a string that pops out when the string is pulled. No matter what it’s called or where it’s from, the Jack-in-the-box toy continues to delight and surprise children and adults alike.