So many people remember these doodads that were all over the US during the ’70s and ’80s. (They’re often described along the lines of, “Remember that little round toy from the seventies where you pressed on the back with your finger to squish stuff around and it changed colors?”)
They were about 3 inches in diameter, usually cost less than a buck, and were a fun and mesmerizing — almost soothing — novelty toy. The concept was pretty simple — there was a hard transparent plastic top, and a white vinyl sticker on the back. And in between the two? That’s where the magic happened.
The Space Fidgit (which people often remember as just “a Fidget”) was filled with an iridescent liquid crystal goo that changed color depending on the where and how you applied pressure to the sticker side, as well as how you tilted the toy when looking at it. The colors mostly ranged from a blue-green to an orange-pink, as you can see on this page. The toy was also sensitive to heat — and if it got hot enough, the crystal goo became dark until it cooled down.
We’re guessing that the “space” in the name either came from the fact that they said the liquid crystal was “space-age material” — but the patterns that could be created also looked like mini-galaxies.
It was good they were cheap, because they didn’t last forever. If you pushed too hard on the squishy side, or nicked it with a fingernail, the goop inside would come out. And if you managed to keep it intact, after awhile the crystal gel would dry out.
Where can you get one now? These vintage toys have been available on and off over the years — mostly sold through companies who offer them as sales freebies — but we haven’t seen any new ones for sale since about 2008. You can, however, check auction sites to see if any come up for sale, and if you want something somewhat similar in the meantime, check out these liquid crystal sheets.
For now, though — and for free! — you’re invited to take a look back at these cool vintage toys right here and right now.
Space Fidgit toys (1986)
Rub my back… and create fantastic color patterns – Try it!
Tilt Space Fidgit for more colors
Made in USA by Game Parts, Inc. Northvale, NJ 07647
Enjoy cosmic pleasure with Space Fidgit – the magic color disc (1986)
… made with space-age pressure and heat-sensitive liquid crystal material
FIDGIT makes a fascinating novelty gift for anyone. Just rub the back with finger.
A personal doodler – Just rub back of Space Fidgit with your finger (as shown).
Play tricks on your friends by asking them to talk to the Space Fidgit while you secretly scratch back. It will appear as though the voice is causing lines and colors to change.
Find your pulse by pressing Space Fidgit on inside of wrist and see colors go “beat, beat, beat, beat…”
Place the heat-sensitive Space Fidgit under incandescent light bulb on a warm day and watch it turn black. Remove from light and original color will return as it cools.
Rub back of Space Fidgit over towel or other rough cloth to see various designs.
Your Space Fidgit is perfect for use as a coaster.
Note: If liquid crystal material collects in one section of circle, simply press and smooth out with thumb or forefinger, until liquid covers entire circle.
Made in USA by Game Parts, Inc.; Northvale NJ [’80s version]
Fidgit: The mystifying color disc
(Packaging from at least 1973-1976)
Your finger is the magic wand
“Rub disc through back of card and see fantastic color patterns and changes”
As seen on TV
Tilt Fidgit for more colors — Hours of fascination for all ages
Made and printed in USA / Athol Plastics Corp. Athol, Mass 01331