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A Mold-A-Rama machine at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle
A tractor from a Mold-A-Rama machine at the Museum of Science and Industry in 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][5]


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[6] 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[7][8] and Replication Devices in Florida.[9][10] As of November 2015, there are 124 machines in a total of eight different states.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rossman, Martin (October 29, 1962). "Machine Molds Items While Customer Waits". Los Angeles Times. p. B8. 
  2. ^ "Keilson Puts in Molding Units". Billboard. May 4, 1963. p. 53. 
  3. ^ "Mold-Rama Draws 'Em". Billboard. December 12, 1964. p. 43. 
  4. ^ Benderoff, Eric (September 4, 2006). "Old Technology Proves a Modern-Day Classic". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Steve (August 17, 2016). "Smelly, Plastic and Nostalgic, Mold-A-Rama Celebrates 50th Birthday at Brookfield Zoo". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Mueller, Jim (July 23, 1993). "All-Star Casts: The Mold-A-Rama Tradition of Plastic Lincoln Heads and Zoo Animals Lives On". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 21, 2016. 
  8. ^ Stach, Chris (August 9, 2005). "Mold-a-Rama Magic". Riverside–Brookfield Landmark. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  9. ^ Daly, Sean (July 2, 2009). "Waxing Nostalgic: In 30 Seconds, Mold-A-Rama Makes Memories, Toys to Last a Lifetime". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  10. ^ Flaherty, Joseph (April 21, 2009). "Mold-O-Rama: 50’s Plastic Molding Vending Machine". Replicator. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  11. ^ Fecile, John (November 13, 2015). "Mold-A-Rama-Rama! The Secrets Behind Chicago's Plastic Souvenir Empire". WBEZ. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 

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