My Super Ball ® History
Though I was only about two when the Super
Ball ® first bounced on to the scene, we would eventually
play together, and although it was only for a very short time, it
was quite a memorable experience (in fact one that I've yet to
hear the end of). Who would have ever imagined then that years
later this little bundle of energy and I would be so beautifully
You see my first experience with the Super Ball ® was very short-lived and ended rather abruptly, on the day... actually the minute that "the ball " broke my folks' chandelier. I know, I know, you're probably going to say that the ball didn't do it. I've heard that so many times. I stand by my story. Anyway, needless to say I was Super Ball ® deprived as a child, though I would "one day" be compensated for my loss.
That brings us to around 1989, when I was working in my hometown of Fullerton, CA as a salesman for a local company. Just on the other side of a "fenced off" storm drain from our office building, isolated between the storm drain and the train tracks, sat a number of long-abandoned buildings, all on one lot and all painted alike (ugly). We never had a clue as to what once went on there, nor did we care... until that "one day."
It seems that the property had just been purchased, and the old buildings were being demolished. During the demolition what should appear but Super Balls ®. What a surprise! I think that our first clue to this tremendous find was the sound of the balls bouncing off of our building's "loading bay" door. Discovered initially by neighborhood kids attracted by the loud noises, large machinery, or simply a new shortcut home, they were soon all over the place, and were even banned at the local schools (broken windows). Anyway, the demolition crew just allowed them to be taken... I was told that they even encouraged it. Rumor was that they were considered "hazardous waste," and couldn't be dumped just "anywhere."
Well, upon discovery of their existance my boss (also a child of the 60's) and I went next door to take a look. Sure enough, Super Balls ® - - everywhere. Good old Super Balls ®, Original Wham-O ® Super Balls ®, Copyright 1965 just like the one I had as a... Well anyway, the balls, which still wore their original "mold release," were mostly all strewn around. Kids were picking them all up, filling their pockets to the brims. We sought out the source, and in a couple of small storage rooms, (either stand-alone, or by then standing alone), we found it... Super Balls ® in big bags. (It was by the way, on the wall of one of those rooms where I found the Super Ball ® "inventory" list).
Anyway, the bags that held them were surplus type plastic lined paper bags, some C & H Sugar, some Bandini Fertilizer, some Beagle Greasweep - - all labeled with a stencil as to the size and color of their actual Super Ball ® contents. I guess that when the fad died (the first time) in the late ' 60's their inventory went into storage, and there they sat. The Super Ball ®, and this manufacturer's production was revived in the mid ' 70's, but for some reason the logo and size had changed so the balls continued to sit. Eventually, sometime in the late ' 80's the company apparently went out of business... the buildings' doors locked, the lights turned out, and the balls... left behind
To sum things up, we got a bunch (you should have seen my folks' faces the day I brought them home). So, what to do with a bunch of Super Balls ®. Figuring that they'd make a great collectible, having been such a popular fad and all, I once advertised in a toy collectors newspaper for a couple of issues, with only one response (without the advent of the Internet, the world was still too small a place for my little nuggets). Later, I sold some on consignment from the counter of my favorite imported beer supplier's store, and though they all sold, I never asked for the money (after all, he took care of my beer connoisseuring needs). Once I even tried, with my boss, to sell them at a local swap meet, but made only enough to pay for our "spot" and lunch. I think that the problem there was that we were trying to sell these balls to a bunch of nice people who weren't yet in the country in the late ' 60's and unfortunately had no idea of the history behind the balls, and we were competing for their food and clothing dollar to boot. I even remember refunding a dollar to a child whose father made him return the ball, after the father had bounced it only to have it come back and hit him in the face.
Well, my treasures went back into storage after that where they've been for years... until I stumbled upon an old ugly one being sold at eBay™. Mine are beautiful. As a want-to-be webmaster in search of a cause on which to spend a ton of time that I didn't really have, I got right to work, and superballs.com was born. The rest is history, the stories wonderful, and the interest just tremendous.
For a little history on the manufacturer, please see Fullerton Manufacturing Company - - History.
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