Big Tooth (Topps Chewing Gum) 1970
My affiliation to the design and creating new products for the children candy and chewing gum market began when introduced to Mr. Joe Shorin, Vice President of Topps Chewing Gum. My task was to solve a problem involving design and production of an innovation of Mr. Shorin. Essentially, their problem consisted of lacking knowledge in design and production of plastic product. Topps wanted a plastic container in the shape of a tooth as a response to a group of activists bent on getting candy coated chewing gum off the market because they believed it caused tooth decay in children. The design involved a 2-3/4” high tooth standing upright on 4 roots with a hinged lid closing the container. The complete container consisted of one piece of plastic which lowered the tooling and production costs. This was the first novelty gum container of the era and it was named, Big Tooth. The tooth form attracted children which Mr. Shorin accurately envisioned as a great marketing tool.
This was the introduction of the after use, (play value) container. We learned it held tremendous attraction for children and sold in the millions of units. This market demand improved sagging gum and candy sales of the entire product line.
The success of Big Tooth was so encouraging that it created a demand for follow up ideas. At the time, I was collaborating with Mira-Hinge Corp, a Canadian firm dedicated to the development of new ideas that utilized thin-sectional characteristics of the new plastic material, Polypropylene. This was the introduction of a unitary spring plastic hinge geometry now seen as commonplace on a variety of bottle screw caps. The patented Mira Spring Hinge was an inseparable part of my next product, the Snap-a-Gator.