When Mold-A-Rama debuted at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the molds included such wonders as the Space Needle, a monorail, and other fair-related designs. The production process, which remains the same to this day, also wowed the crowds! I think watching the process today still has that ‘Wow!’ factor. After inserting payment, you watch two sides of an aluminum mold close together so that heated polyethylene pellets can be injected into it. In less than a minute, the mold opens, releasing the plastic figure. The signature smell of wax hangs in the air as the hollow figurine slowly cools. But be careful! It’s HOT!
The machine I used to create my plastic souvenir was found at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. And this is what fell out of the shoot:
For a very detailed account of the Mold-A-Rama machine, it’s history, and the people keeping it alive today, check out this link. The article was originally written in 2018 but has been updated since.
Moldville.com has a nice article covering the Disneyland TOY FACTORY machine that produced, not only Mickey Mouse, but many other popular Disney characters as well. Such as:
Note that the original design for Mickey Mouse is identical to the one I received in this modern day. Obviously it would not be necessary to change the molds as they would last a very long time without wear or damage. Note the variety of colours. Each machine would produce one colour and that colour was arbitrarily chosen by the individual setting up the machine. So mine is red while the classic version above is pink.
I want this whole set!
It looks like each Disney figure had the characters name on the base. You can just about see the name on mine in the image above.
I made a short video of the machine in action:
The figure drops out of the mold into a shoot where you retrieve it. It is hot but not so hot really. You can handle it right away, but it is definitely warm!
You can see the holes in the base. These are likely a part of the injection process as well as used to allow the hot air to escape and aid in the cooling of the plastic.
Mickey is 5″ tall and super light. The figures produced by a Mold-A-Rama machine are hollow. Have you used one of these machines?