The Wham-O Magic Window toy let you create mini oceans and mountains back in the 70s

Vintage Wham-O Magic Window toy at ClickAmericana com

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The Wham-O “Magic Window” toy was made between 1973 and 1979. Though the concept was simple, it could make very intricate patterns.

How did it work? Well, sealed between two sheets of plastic, there were two or three different colors of sand-like material (“microdium crystals”) in different weights. Since the dark and light colors couldn’t really mix and slid around at the whim of gravity, the crystals would flow into various designs as you moved the toy around — turning, tapping, or shaking it.

Marketed as a plaything for crafting “moving changing pictures,” the Magic Window offered a simple yet mesmerizing visual experience.

A vintage Magic Window toy in close-up

The original version featured blue crystals, subtly mixed with a little bit of black, alongside white crystals. (Other versions had green with white or pink with white, both of which were glow-in-the-dark models.)

A special edition called “Crystal Fantasy” was released in 1979. This version combined the features of earlier models, and introduced pink crystals and tiny glitter flakes into the mix, creating an even more enchanting visual effect. The colored crystals were denser and heavier compared to the lightweight, powdered silicon-like white crystals.

Despite being marketed for a relatively short time, these vintage toys are fondly remembered by many — and the few that remain disappear from eBay quickly.

VIDEO: Wham-O’s Magic Window TV commercial

YouTube video

Wham-O’s Magic Window: A toy for all ages (1973)

Creativity and versatility are two of the primary assets which make an exciting and unique toy product from Wham-O, creator of such all-time favorites as Hula Hoop, Frisbee and Silly String.

A creative plaything for children, “Magic Window” is also a sensory experience for adults, representing a medium of creative interpretation.

Millions of vari-colored, non-toxic Microdium crystals, contained in an oval frame of clear, safe, heavy-duty polystyrene plastic, portray changing moving pictures as it is agitated or revolved.

Individual interpretation and impressions make these swirling patterns emerge as oceans, mountains, flowers and limitless other scenes and patterns.

A fascinating and creative plaything for children, it is also a provocative and decorative object for adults. It was successful in its West Coast test marketing, spurring numerous inquiries from persons throughout the country who had received it as a gift.

Vintage Magic Window toys for sale - newspaper ads

Its obvious assets are augmented by a unique facility for entertaining persons with lengthy periods of time to fill, such as airline passengers, persons on lengthy auto trips, hospital patients, shut-ins and preschool youngsters.

Serra Memorial Hospital in Sun Valley, California, originally planned to use it in its children’s ward to entertain the youngsters. However, the hospital staff soon found its adult patients were equally desirous of enjoying the recreation it afforded.

Similar interest was reported by the child development-parent education department at Long Beach City College, where communication between children and adults was further stimulated by the youngsters’ enjoyment.

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Old version of Wham-O’s Magic Window toy in action (animated gif)

animated magic window toy

Wham-O’s discontinued Glow-in-the-dark pink & white Magic Window from 1975

Wham-O's Glow-in-the-dark pink & white Magic Window from 1975

Magic Window toy (blue) – Wham-O retailer catalog page (1977)

Unbelievably enchanting and ever-changing. Create countless designs, landscapes, seascapes, birds, butterflies just by turning the Magic Window.

The crystals fly, slide and erupt into one pattern after another. Provides hours of pleasure for all ages. Comes attractively boxed with its own clear polystyrene stand.

ALSO SEE: Silly Putty: The story of the stretchy, bouncy wonder toy of the 20th century

Vintage blue Wham-O's Magic Window catalog page (1978) at ClickAmericana com

Glow in the dark Magic Window toy catalog page for retailers (1977)

Vintage Wham-O's Magic Window - Glow in the dark catalog page (1978) at ClickAmericana com

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Old wood frame Wham-O’s Magic Window 1971

Old wood frame Wham-O's Magic Window 1971 at ClickAmericana com

Vintage Wham-O Magic Window toy ads – Toys for sale

Vintage Magic Window toys for sale - newspaper ads

Who invented the Magic Window toy?

The Magic Window concept was created by Roy L. Cloutier, an inventor with a degree in Engineering Physics from Michigan Tech.

Text of the original Magic Window patent from 1970 (#3,692,382)

A device for creating and displaying artistic flow patterns in picture-like form utilizing different colored classes of particles carried in a picture-like container, with the different classes of particles having different physical properties causing the particles to form semi-random accumulations and concentrations to provide the artistically pleasing flow pattern effect. Two rectangular glass or plastic plates are held in closely spaced parallel relation by a surrounding frame and the particulate material is carried in the space between the two plates. In different forms of the invention, the artistic effect is enchanced by making at least some of the particles translucent and shining light through them, by making at least some of the particles fluorescent and reflecting from them, making the different classes of particles in various colors, etc. The method form of the invention involves selection of particle classes, each class having unique visual appearance and having sufficient differentiation between physical characteristics, such as size, shape, density, or any other properties affecting relative physical movement in such manner that the particles flow differently and cause a heterogeneous array of concentrations and accumulations of the different classes of particles to provide a different design each time the particles are disturbed. Means is provided for continuous agitation of the particles to provide dynamic flow patterns in one modification of the invention, and a method is provided for retaining the particles in a desired configuration in another modification of the invention.

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Comments on this story

6 Responses

  1. I really need to find a magic window by whamoo it is very important to find it with out paying to much on fixed income…
    Please help me find one …..

  2. Anyone know where I can get a Magik Window toy for less than the prices on E-bay? I need this sensory toy for 2 autistic little boys but have a limited budget. Sensory toys are really soothing for them.

    1. Why don’t you just buy a moving sand picture from They’re just like the Magic Window, except there’s also liquid inside & the sand falls down between the bubbles near the top when the frame is turned. They’re great sensory items & perfect for promoting calmness. You can find very affordable ones on Amazon & probably all over the web too.

      1. They really aren’t like the Magic Window. MW moved more freely and the sand had a greater tendency to separate by color, making it much easier to affect the movement and create more intricate pictures. The water ones are better than nothing, but not as good as a Wham-o Magic Window.

  3. I had one as a girl, and I absolutely loved it! I took it with me EVERYWHERE! It kept me busy with my hands and my mind. It was especially great for long car rides. Man, I wish I had mine now! Does anyone know where I can find one?

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