Executive Toy

newtons cradle

An executive toy is a novelty item that is usually a small mechanical gadget placed on the desk of a corporate executive or other office workers. They have no work-related function but are usually interesting to look at and entertaining. The first executive toy may have been a gadget designed by the great mathematician and engineer Philo of Byzantium (c.280 BCE), an octagon-shaped ink pot with openings on each side. One could turn the pot so that any face is on top and dip the pen in the opening, but the ink never ran out through the holes on other sides. The inkwell was suspended in the center on a series of gimbals and remained stationary in spite of any rotation.

Examples of executive toys include: EcoSphere (closed Aquarium), Etch A Sketch, Hoberman sphere (a folding and opening geodesic dome), oil and water liquid motion toys, Drinking bird, Magic 8-Ball, mechanical puzzles, music boxes, Nanoblocks (plastic building blocks similar to Lego but about half the linear dimensions), Newton’s cradle (where a set of metal balls are suspended from above, one is pulled from the rest and kicks them, transferring the kinetic energy to the last one), Perpetual pendulum (which doesn’t stop due to an electric magnet in the base of the toy), Pin Art (a box with thousands of small pins of equal length inserted into a board, that can be pressed from one side with any object so that the other ends of the pins form a three-dimensional image of the object on the other side of the board), Rubik’s Cubes, Tops, Yo-yos, Snow globes, Lava lamps, magnet toys, and stress balls.

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