Whoopee Cushion

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Whoopee cushion © Andrew Paterson/Alamy

The new sound of novelty.

A new sound: that’s all a novelty item needed to become a raging sensation in the late 1920s. Companies offered a wide variety of devices that emitted strange sounds when squeezed–some a child’s scream, others a cat’s screech. Experimenting with sheets of rubber, employees of the JEM Rubber Company in Toronto hit upon a different sound. The noise that emanated from their little rubber pillow was a tad more, now shall we put it, indelicate. American novelty purveyor Johnson Smith & Company heard the call and added JEM’s doohickey to its giant catalogue. The economy model went for 25 cents, a deluxe edition for $1.25. A perfect gift for the discerning prankster who has everything. Sales erupted with a loud toot and haven’t ceased. The sound of the Whoopee Cushion can still be heard loud and clear wherever unsuspecting bottoms and chairs get together.

Author(s)
Profile picture for user Ingenious - Ingénieux
Ingenious - Ingénieux