Museum Homepage

The San Mateo County Historical Association
Online Collections Database

The mission of the San Mateo County Historical Association is to inspire wonder and discovery
of the cultural and natural history of San Mateo County.

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 2016.001.004A-B
Description Monster "A Strange Change Toy" Capsules, late 1960s to 1970s. Twenty red "time capsule" pieces made of irradiated plastic produced by the Raychem Corporation as part of "A Strange Change Toy Featuring the Lost World." The toy set was sold by Mattel, Inc., and also included a machine with a heated dome and a compressor device, tweezers, instructions, a 3-D molded plastic "Lost World Landscape," and an illustrated map. The square capsules expand into toy figures when heated. They can also be re-compressed back into squares and expanded again. The monster figure (a) has two arms, two legs, and a head. The head has no neck and is low on the torso. The face has two eyes and an open oval mouth with two teeth. An embossed belly button can be seen right below the lower jaw. The elbows are bent and positioned near the top of the head. Each hand has three fingers. The legs are straight and each foot has three toes. The back has no detailing and is slightly concave. Nineteen compressed square capsules (b-t) are embossed with Mattel's logo. The other side also has a Mattel logo and a pressed circle to the bottom left of the logo with a number embossed in the center. The numbers range in the 50s.
Object Name Toy
Collection 3D - Toys
Title Monster "A Strange Change Toy" Capsules, late 1960s to 1970s
Date late 1960s to 1970s
Creator Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, CA
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "MATTEL INC, / M / TOYMAKERS" (embossed in center on both sides of square); "57" (range of numbers embossed in circle to left bottom of Mattel logo of square); "4581-062" (embossed on top of monster's head).
Notes These toys were designed by Raychem and to be produced by Mattel. Unfortunately, they were deemed unsafe for childeren because of the chemincal components and were never mass produced. The plastic squares transform into the monster figure when heated.

"Raychem was founded on January 1, 1957. It grew rapidly by creating proprietary new products based on Radiation processing of polymers to meet critical and difficult industry needs for electrical circuit integrity in harsh environments. Included in these initial products were irradiated wire insulation and heat shrinkable tubing. Markets included Aerospace, Military, Automotive, Telecommunications and Electrical Power Generation markets.
"In 1968, Raychem acquired Chemelex leading Raychem to extend its radiation polymer processing technology to polymers filled with conductive carbon creating a family of "Self Limiting Heaters". This technology was further extended to produce resettable switches forming the enabling technology for the "Polyswitch" Division.
"As Raychem grew into a world class Material Science Company, additional technologies explored, developed and taken to market were Heat Recoverable Metals, Piezoelectric Materials (Elographics), Silicone Gels (Geltek) and Liquid Crystals (Taliq).
"Each year, Raychem devoted between 8 and 10 percent of sales into Research and Development resulting in thousands of new products based on the technologies listed above. Research and Product Development labaratories, in addition to Menlo Park and Redwood City were established in Swindon, UK, Kessel-Lo, Belgium, Ottobrunn, Germany, Pontois, France and Japan.
"Manning these laboratories were an extremely creative and talented group of scientists and engineers who found innovative ways to use technologies to create new products."
[ 12/31/2015]
Dimensions H-2 W-3.25 D-0.125 inches
Dimension Details 1.25 x 1.25 x .125 (squares)
Search Terms Children
Menlo Park
Subjects Children