5 results found for “buckyballs”

Safely Ensconced 

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

A quick search for Buckyballs will show multiple posts on this site, detailing the rise and fall of the magnetic toy. Most recently, the government decided to target Craig Zucker, the former CEO of the product’s manufacturer Maxfield & Oberton.

Mr. Zucker is fighting back, with a rather over-the-top “United We Ball” campaign to fund his legal defense. On his new site, you can read about the matter at hand, and be overwhelmed by inflamed rhetoric. You can also purchase a variety of larger spherical magnets, as well Buckyball-sized magnets which have been safely ensconced in lucite.

Founding Balls
These magnets are permanently embedded in lucite, preventing swallowing.

While his histrionics are doing him no favors, Mr. Zucker certainly does seem in the right here. A wing of the government is targeting an individual in a deeply unfair fashion. No less an authority than former Acting Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Nancy Nord has come to Zucker’s defense.

All this over tiny spherical magnets.

Taking on The CPSC 

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Craig Zucker was the CEO of Maxfield & Oberton, the company behind BuckyBalls. As discussed last year, the U.S. CPSC moved to have the product banned. They were successful, and the company has now shut down. However, it seems that wasn’t enough – now they’re going after Craig Zucker himself, perhaps because he was willing to speak out.

Banning Buckyballs 

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Buckyballs have been discussed here before, including the rather incredible warning as well as their spat with Zen Magnets. Now, however, the government is moving to ban them. Like lawn darts before them, they’re apparently just too dangerous for children, and no amount of warnings will work.

Follow-Up on Buckyballs 

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

It’s a day of follow-up links here on OFT. In discussing magnetic desk toys, I specifically pointed to Buckyballs because of the amusing warning found on their case. There are, however, many companies which sell a similar (and similarly-dangerous) product.

One such company is Zen Magnets. Apparently, Zen Magnets has been competing based on the superior quality of their product, and this has raised the hackles of Jake Bronstein of Buckyballs. Slashdot summarizes and there’s also a somewhat-bizarre, more-than-a-little obsessive video Zen Magnets made1 to explain things.

On the one hand, it seems Jake Bronstein of Buckyballs is kind of a jackass, and it’s regrettable to have promoted his company. On the other hand, the folks from Zen Magnets don’t acquit themselves well with their video. So, what magnetic desk ball toy should you buy? Hard science seems to show that Zen Magnets are ultimately the way to go, but who would have guessed that such a simple toy could cause so much anxiety?


  1. In case this YouTube link dies, the movie is also mirrored here. ↩︎

The Sign of a Good Toy

Friday, September 17th, 2010

These are Buckyballs1:

BuckyBalls in their case

While they may sound like some sort of disgusting STD, Buckyballs are actually a fun magnetic desk toy. If you’ve played with them, you know this for yourself, but if you’re skeptical, just check out the warning label2:

BuckyBalls Warning

Do not put in nose or mouth.
Swallowed magnets can stick to intestines causing serious injury or death.
Seek immediate medical attention if magnets are swallowed or inhaled.

You know it’s good toy when it can cause serious injury or death.


  1. Four questions:
    Do they come in that cube shape? Yes.
    Is that the original cube? No.
    Did you spend a lot of time getting them back into that shape? Oh yes.
    Do you wonder how the heck they get them into the cube at the factory? I very much do. ↩︎

  2. That’s not a sticker, either, it’s painted onto the box itself. ↩︎