While in Chicago recently, we visited the Willis (formally Sears) Tower. After assenting to the top for magnificent views and bravely stepping onto the new glass floor feature of the observations deck, we scoured the ground-floor gift shop for souvenirs. Unfortunately, the only building replicas came in the form of resin and a small metal pencil sharpener, which I already own. However, we did discover a Mold-A-Rama machine! Might have been the first time I’ve seen one. This vending machine “factory” has been melting raw plastic to form souvenir dinosaurs, animals and other figures via the plastic injection method at tourist destinations since 1955. For just a few dollars, this machine turned out a black replica of the Willis Tower while we watched. It was still warm and smelled of hot plastic after being molded and unceremoniously pushed into the retrieval shoot. Watch the video of my miniature tower under construction below. Do you remember the TV show, “Wonderfalls?” Set in Niagara Falls, the show features a talking, deformed Mold-A-Rama lion who convinces a store clerk to do good deeds. To refresh your memory, check out this Wonderfalls video (the Mold-A-Rama lion scene comes at time 5:38) The website, Moldville, has excellent information about Mold-A-Rama figurines, machines and history of the company. You can even buy your own machine from them and produce your own souvenirs hot off the press. Most photos here are courtesy of Moldville.
|Better Living Pavilion ’65 NY World’s Fair|
|Friendship International Airport, Baltimore & Humble Building|
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre & Empire State Building
Pacific Science Center Building & Gateway Arch in St. Louis
Hollywood Bowl in California
Seattle Space Needle, Willis Tower (formerly Sears) & Eiffel Tower
Stone Mountain Monument, Georgia & Georgia State Capitol Building