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photograph

We do not know who blew the first soap bubbles, but they appeared in Flemish paintings during the 17th century. During the 1865 holiday season in the United Kingdom, A. Ladd manufactured and marketed a toy bubble solution based on the scientific solution invented by Belgian scientist Joseph Plateau. Alfred Bird, an English food manufacturer and chemist, marketed Bird’s Rainbow Bubble Solution just a year later. “The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, Volume 8” touted the product, noting it made “magnificent spheres, 24 inches in circumference, and the most gorgeous prismatic colors.” Following World War II, bubbles boomed as toy manufacturers used plastic to make bubble toys and detergents replaced traditional soap solutions. Today’s varieties are non-toxic and safe, and they are one of the cleanest toys around. New multi-bubble machines make thousands of bubbles possible, while simple and inexpensive wands can now create huge bubbles. Popular party and wedding favors, bubbles make for sudsy fun for both children and adults.

  • Material: color photograph
  • Object ID: 114.6587
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