Are you old enough to remember these???

Pennies anyone???

The original search engine… sigh

How many places did you see this stuff as a kid?

Used to be a nickel a package… I cried when they went up to a dime…

If you have any of the these, do you have the cap gun too???


TBT… — 32 Comments

  1. Grandad was a meat cutter (he hated being called a butcher) so yeah I saw him use the paper roller with cutter bar often. I’m not sure if any of my cap guns survived multiple moves and yard sales, but definitely multiple cap guns back in the day.

  2. Those fuses…. When we moved in ’76, the new place had fuses, and one important one popped on Thanksgiving day. We found one at an Alsups in Abernathy…. What are the odds…

    Weird, I remember that as a dry, boring day…

  3. Philly has trolleys, you could unroll one of the cap rolls, stick the strip to the trolley tracks, and put another roll at the end.
    If it went well, you’d get machine gun fire and a boom!

  4. Remember all those things – many pot metal cap guns, and should have kept the one that the girl down the street threw at me from a few feet away and which split my head wide open. I was about four or five. Didn’t hurt that bad, but I was cryingly upset when I bled all over my new cowboy boots. Come to think of it, that incident kind of set the tone for my interactions with females for quite a few years (decades?).

  5. Set a roll of caps on the anvil in the shed and hit it with a sledge hammer. Ears rang for an hour. Good times.

    Also had a Mattel six-shooter that used the green stick-on caps and plastic spring loaded bullets. Gun belt and holster were real leather.

    • My brother and I were doing a box of five rolls at a time with a sledgehammer and a steel brick my Dad had (I actually have it in my workshop). I remember department stores having paper caps in bulk packages for a couple of bucks. The sound was phenomenal, and the flame out the sides was cool. Do that now and you will get a visit from law enforcement to investigate explosion complaints.

      That and the deafening hard rock I used to enjoy at jet engine sound levels have left me quite hard of hearing.

  6. John, yup, perfect for those huge metal cars to roll on. I used a single roll and a hammered it on concrete. Great sound!

    FIL shared a better one. As kids, they raided a railway shed for their signal rounds (size of a hockey puck); used one and almost derailed a trolley. RR signal used in groups of five for emergency. Engine of loaded train runs over signal, engineer feels the series and stops train.

    • Ha!

      I love it. I’ll bet you took three weeks off the back of every single passenger’s life with that one. And the trolley conductor? He probably never did get over it – at least not fully.

      I’ll bet you kids knew how to run!

  7. We don’t need no stinking fuses… A penny works just fine. 😉

  8. I’ve lived in a couple places that used those fuses – and knew well to NEVER “penny” the fusebox.

    Oh, how well I knew the card catalog – in triplicate so searches could be readily done by author, subject, or title – and neighboring entries were readily seen. Ah.

    Didn’t encounter that particular butcher paper cutter setup.

    Knew the caps well. The cap guns and cap bomb are long gone, but my real memory is setting off the cap charges with a magnifying glass in the sun – and sometimes having to quickly put out a flame before it burned up the whole roll and ended the fun too soon.

  9. All- I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only miscreant out there…LOL And I’ve also seen pennies in a fuze box, scared the hell out of me, as we were replacing the wiring.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  10. Wow. Just seeing the cap picture I can now smell the caps as they fire off. Good smell.

    Don’t ever remember using actual fuses, but sold quite a few at an Eckerds I worked at, as inevitably the house fuse would burn out after the hardware store 3 doors down closed (they still had a tv tube checker in the early 80’s, but the tubes were getting scarce by then.)

    As to the paper rolls, lots of places still use something like that for gift wrap dispensing, those that still do that. Do they still do that? (haven’t been in that type of store in, gosh, 10 years, maybe more.)

  11. The butcher paper rolls still exist, in the same way that dinosaurs still exist as birds, in the tin foil and plastic wrap and wax paper dispensers we use all the time. But I’ve carried home a LOT of meat cut and wrapped by Mr. Bateman in paper.
    Ah, yes, the card catalog. Spent many a Sunday night in a library, with a term paper due the next day, at a dusty old card catalog.

    Now, as to the roll caps: it’s no secret that ammo is in short supply now. There are work-arounds, for sure. I’m a reloader, I cast my own lead boolits, and I save my brass. In an end-of-days scenario, the formula for black powder is available everywhere. But, igniting it? Primers seem to be the TRUE limiting factor. Whether it will work or not, I cannot say, but there ARE videos that show people using those caps with recycled primers to make a functional, post-apocalypse ammo supply.
    Me? I plan on being dead before being reduced to such measures. I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

  12. Jim- I ‘hope’ still not in use!

    Beans- LOL, yep!

    Pat- Interesting… I’ll have to check into that.

  13. I had an excellent way of popping about ten paper caps at one time, in the mid 1950’s when my older brother went off to basic training in the US Army he happened to bring a neutered hand grenade home on his visit after basic and gave it to me. The old time dummy grenade with the working intact hammer, inert fuse and spoon held down with the pin. I would pull the hammer back carefully, load it up with caps, slip the spoon on and pull it down and insert the pin and take it to school in the 6th grade. It was a lot of fun to run up to the girls on the playground and yell grenade, watch them squeal a bit and then pull the pin and release the spoon and it would go bang. Teachers thought it was rather stupid and usual boy type stuff and laugh at us, we would also purchase little .22 black pistols at the Army Surplus store that used little acorn blanks and run around at lunch hour playing army and shooting at each other. That was the good old days for this old guy growing up in a town of 5,000 people where everyone knew who you were and who your folks and grand folks were and we could do silly stuff because we had enough sense at 11 years old to go home and get a .22 rifle and head out to shoot rabbits by ourselves. Very different times indeed.

  14. Still have some of the fuses, I have a butcher paper cuter downstairs with the paper still loaded in it. It still gets used about once a year.

  15. Eck!- Yep!

    Old- Ah yes, common sense and small towns… LOVE them!

    Paper- Wow! Last one I saw was in a restaurant in MD, they had them on the ends of each table and the butcher paper was the ‘table cloth’… It was a seafood place! LOL

    • Sturbridge Seafood in Sturbridge, MA still does the tables that way. 4′ x 4′ square tables with the paper on the table arranged as a cross. They have a large rubber roll stamp with their logo and the girls stamp the center of the tables before they are set.

      Best seafood away from the coast only 20 minutes from home.

  16. I’ve seen and experienced all of those things.

    When I was a child we lived in a house that was built in the early 1900’s. Although the wiring had been updated, there were still remains of the old knob and tube wiring in the attic. The house had a fuse box, but before you dared change out a blown fuse you had to shut off the main. The main was an old knife switch which had open contacts that would throw sparks whenever it was opened or closed. I know you could use a penny in place of a blown fuse, but a smart person dared not do that unless you didn’t care if the place burned down.

    When I was ten, there was a project in the fifth grade science book for a Morse code set. It needed a 6v battery, a roll of bell wire, some nails, and a few pieces of tin can. I had everything but the battery and the wire. But hey, there’s power coming out of that wall socket, isn’t there? And I had an old lamp cord. That’s wire, right? So I split the cord down its length, wrapped a few turns from one prong of the cord around a nail, connected it to one side of the key and connected the other side of the key to the other prong. I plugged it in and nothing happened. I pressed the key…

    And over 50 years later, I still remember the very bright flash as I created a perfect short circuit and blew the main house fuse. (It also welded the key closed.) I was very lucky I didn’t get electrocuted, but instantly realizing I was in deep trouble, I unplugged it and threw the entire contraption into a nearby closet. I then donned my most innocent ten year old face.

    “What happened Mom?”

    About 40 or so years later at a family gathering, we were all sitting around the table when I told that story. Most everybody laughed at the stupidity of ten year old boys – except my mother. She gave me “the stare” and said: “I knew you had something to do with that.”

    Caps – we found out that if you had a dud firecracker, you could split it open and using a single cap and a hammer, get a very satisfying bang out of it. Sometimes it was strong enough to make your arm numb.

    I have no idea how I survived childhood.

    • I have no idea how you managed to survive childhood either, but that story with the Morse code key made me laugh for ten minutes. I’m still laughing.

      I can just imagine your poor father seeing the fuse box and wondering just how in the royal gold-plated hell this could have happened. The kids? Naw, couldn’t be. How could they?

      I’d have paid good money to hang around with you back in the day!

      • Well WL, if you were as inquisitive (…and stupid) as I was, together we might have made the six o’clock news.

    • Oh, forgot about those. I think I actually found that about 15 caps shoved in all tight together would make a really big bang, and if the rocket thingy was getting old, the pot metal would rapidly disassemble in a painful way.

      Man, we all had cool childhoods. I feel sorry for kids today.

  17. I remember all those things. The best part about the sorely-missed card catalog was the sense of adventure and serendipity- who knew what you might discover on your journey seeking what you were supposed to be looking for.

  18. I’m a young’un compared to some of you, but I still remember some of those.

    Never saw the fuses, sadly.

    The card catalog could be equal parts frustrating and edifying — if you knew what you were looking for.

    Butcher paper only showed up in art class, but it was just so much fun, even as a kid, to draw all over this HUGE expanse of blank paper…

    I had a cap gun that would fire those ‘strips’ but to be honest I preferred the ‘ring’ style (looked like a plastic ring with eight or so caps on it).

  19. Roy- Wow! Lucky you survived that one!!!

    Ed/Beans- I’d completely forgotten about then and yes, they would ‘explosively’ disassemble… Especially when you added powder to them!

    Robert- And that was the inverse of how much time you had to search… sigh

    Toast- I don’t remember the ring style. I guess that was after I moved on from cap guns to .22s.

    • Someday, I might have to tell you about the homemade crossbow incident of 1972. It involved something you don’t see very often these days – an old automobile leaf spring.

  20. I had a cap gun or two. My grandmother, who loved loud noises, bought me a box with a lifetime supply of caps in it. I drove my poor father out of his mind by sneaking up on him on Sunday morning and shooting him. Without warning. My grandmother thought it was funny.

    Yeah, cap guns were the best.

    Our house had a fuse box until around 1965 or so. Mom would blow a fuse (literally) while cooking dinner on Friday. The old box was sensitive about the number of appliances you could run at the same time. The Old Man hated changing out a fuse, as he was convinced he’d get electrocuted or something. Well, the old boy served in WWII as a RADAR operator, and every so often someone would be working on the radio or RADAR and forget to keep one hand in their pocket. They’d ground themselves out and get knocked across the room. So my dad was just naturally cautious.

    Dad was one helluva horseman, and they had him on mounted patrol for a while.

    Well, anyway… all those men came back from WWII, and when the race riots hit in the 1960s no one was willing to let the whole place get looted and burned up.