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The Wizzzer #SaturdayMorningCartoons

That’s a commercial for The Wizzer from the 1970’s. Here’s one from the 1980’s:

We love science toys, from the simplest to the most complex. The Wizzzer was one of the best. From Wikipedia:

The Wizzzer or Wiz-z-zer is a gyrostat toy introduced by Mattel Toymakers in 1969, and introduced the spinning top to modern children. The “twist” (innovation) was the use of a super-spinning, high-tech bearing, that allowed the top to spin at very high speed and remain standing for a long period of time. This top did not rely on a string to attain high speed so it was easier to master than tops of old. Wizzers are not sold as scientific instruments, but may be used to demonstrate the conservation of angular momentum and gyroscope stability.

The Wizzzer first appeared in the Mattel Catalog in 1969, with various iterations offered through the early 70’s. Mattel used innovative wedge-shaped packaging and gave the tops interesting personas through the use of color combinations and stickers. The most memorable are those named: Spin-Fire, Mach-1, Prowler, Night Winder, Bonehead, Sparkshooter and “The Color Changer” (the last described the Wizzzer’s actions rather than having a trademarked name). To expand the line, Mattel added a Wizzzer Hockey Game, the Trick Tray and the Super Competition Set. Several automobile toys were included that were Wizzzer-driven as “Spin-Buggies.”

Here’s more on gyrostats from Wikipedia:

A gyrostat consists of a massive flywheel concealed in a solid casing. Its behavior on a table, or with various modes of suspension or support, serves to illustrate the curious reversal of the ordinary laws of static equilibrium due to the gyrostatic behaviour of the interior invisible flywheel when rotated rapidly. The first gyrostat was designed by Lord Kelvin to illustrate the more complicated state of motion of a spinning body when free to wander about on a horizontal plane, like a top spun on the pavement, or a bicycle on the road. Kelvin also made use of gyrostats to develop mechanical theories of the elasticity of matter and of the ether. In modern continuum mechanics there is a variety of these models, based on ideas of Lord Kelvin. They represent a specific type of Cosserat theories (suggested for the first time by Eugène Cosserat and François Cosserat), which can be used for description of artificially made smart materials as well as of other complex media. One of them, so-called Kelvin’s medium, has the same equations as magnetic insulators near the state of magnetic saturation in the approximation of quasimagnetostatics.


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