Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 9 April 2014

Mr. Potato Head was originally introduced without a potato

Mr. Potato Head was introduced to the American public in 1952. The original toy was just a set of plastic body parts and you had to ‘bring your own potato’ to create the iconic faces.

The original patent application noted that the body parts were for “affixing on a fresh potato or other fresh fruits and vegetables to form various human caricatures”.

While the toy was originally marketed for use with a potato (thus giving the toy its name), early adverts made it clear that “any fruit or vegetables makes a very funny face!”

The ‘swastika’ is right facing. A left facing variant is called a sauwastika or sauvastika

In 1938, the finishing decorative touches were being made to Essex County Hall in Chelmsford. Some 75 years later, a member of the public wrote to the council to ask why those decorations featured swastikas.

The query noted that the timing of the swastika symbols “struck me as strange seeing as the Nazi party formed in 1933 and by March 1938 were beginning an invasion into Austria.” This sparked a BBC article and a follow up piece for its Magazine depicting the buildings around the UK that are marked with swastika designs.

Or are they? One of the facts revealed by this piece is that only the right facing design is called a swastika. Its left facing variant can be called a sauwastika or sauvastika.