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A green plastic tractor from the Mold-A-Rama machine at the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)

Mold-A-Rama is a brand name for a type of vending machine that makes blow-molded plastic figurines. Mold-A-Rama machines debuted in late 1962 [1][2] and grew in prominence at the 1964 New York World's Fair.[3] The machines can still be found operating in dozens of museums and zoos.[4]


American inventor John H. "Tike" Miller is credited with conceiving a free-standing plastic-molding machine in the 1950s. He licensed his mold-making patent[5] and related technology to the Automatic Retailers Association, a vending-machine company, which operated Mold-A-Rama machines as a subsidiary company through 1969. As of 2010, two US companies own and operate Mold-A-Rama machines: the William A. Jones Company in Illinois[6] and Replication Devices in Florida.[7] As of November 2015, there are 124 machines in a total of eight different states.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rossman, Martin (1962-10-29). "Machine Molds Items While Customer Waits". Los Angeles Times. p. B8. 
  2. ^ "Keilson Puts in Molding Units". Billboard. 1963-05-04. p. 53. 
  3. ^ "Mold-Rama Draws 'Em". Billboard. 1964-12-12. p. 43. 
  4. ^ Benderoff, Eric (2006-09-04). "Old technology proves a modern-day classic". Chicago Tribune. 
  5. ^ US patent 3068518, Miller, John H. and Helms, Millard O., "Apparatus for Molding Hollow Plastic Products", issued 1962-12-18, assigned to Mold-A-Rama, Inc. 
  6. ^ Stach, Chris (2005-08-09). "Mold-a-Rama magic". Riverside/Brookfield Landmark. 
  7. ^ Daly, Sean (2009-07-05). "Waxing nostalgic". St. Petersburg Times. 
  8. ^ John Fecile (13 November 2015). "Mold-A-Rama-rama! The secrets behind Chicago's plastic souvenir empire". WBEZ. Retrieved 17 November 2015. 

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