Jan 30, 2012

Mail Order Monday - Jet Rocket Set (1956)

This particular toy was offered by Honor House, a big name in the comic ad mail order business.
Although this 1956 ad mentions this is a new scientific toy, the "science rocket" has stood the test of time and is still being made today. I can vividly remember one of these rockets I had which had a red plastic dome and white lower body to it. The white plastic was opaque and made the fins a little more bendy. I'm guessing in the early models that were made from translucent red plastic the fins were not so bendy and probably broke on hard landings..

For those not familiar with this toy, you fill the rocket to a line with water. You then attach a small hand pump to the base of the rocket, latch it in place and pump it full of air. Now I'm pretty sure the actual instructions gave some kind of advisory as to how much air you should pump in to it but we always pumped it until there was so much air inside that we couldn't work the pump anymore (ie: maximum thrust mode). Aim up at the sky (very important!) and release the latch holding the rocket in place.

Actual mail order rocket still in original box (year unknown)
What happens next is pure science, but I don't know the actual words behind it. Suffice it to say that water + air pressure + forced point of release = launching rocket. Like any flying toy, these would sometimes end up on the roof, yours or your neighbors! There is also a good chance of getting sprayed by the "rocket fuel" as it launches which makes this a good summer toy.

You can make one of these at home, presuming you have a hand-held air pump.

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