Spud gun (toy)
A spud gun is a small children's toy gun used to fire a fragment of potato. To operate it, one punctures the surface of a potato with the gun's hollow tip to pry out a small pellet, fitted snugly in the muzzle. Squeezing the grip causes a small build-up of air pressure inside the toy, which propels the projectile. The devices are usually short-range and low-powered.
The first spud gun was invented during the Great Depression when few people would think of wasting a potato. The original inventor sold his patent to E. Joseph Cossman for USD$600 after World War II. Cossman, the brother in law of "Uncle" Milton Levine discovered there was a potato glut at the time and through an advertising campaign sold two million spud guns in six months.
Harder, drier potatoes are preferable sources of ammunition; red potatoes, or refrigerated potatoes serve well.
In popular culture
- A character in the British TV series Bottom was named after this toy.
- p. 108 Cohen, William A. PhD Building a Mail Order Business: A Complete Manual for Success John Wiley & Sons, 01/02/1996
- E. Joseph Cossman obituary Los Angeles Times December 19, 2002
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