“The Shocking True Tale of the Mad Genius who Invented Sea-Monkeys”

At The Awl, Evan Hughes looks at the life of Harold von Braunhut, inventor of Sea-Monkeys, brine shrimp marketed as a totally amazing civilization you could grow in a fishbowl. And, well, there’s a lot more to tell.

“Von Braunhut was a wellspring of ideas, and some of his novelties relied less on inflated ad copy. He invented those dolls’ eyes that close on their own when the doll is laid down on its back. And he was the man behind the game Balderdash, which tests your ability to call baloney. (I won’t linger on the irony.) If you grew up in America and even dabbled with toys and games, going through the 195 patents that von Braunhut held is bound to bring a smile.

Until you see this one: ‘Spring whip defensive mechanism having means to permit disassembly thereof.’ Don’t pull on this thread unless you want things to unravel.”

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