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S.S. Adams, the Original Gag Factory
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S.S. Adams, the Original Gag Factory

Games & Humor

S.S. Adams, the Original Gag Factory
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LIANE HANSEN, host:

Keep your eyes open for dribble glasses and fake bugs and plastic ice cubes today. It's April Fools' Day, a day when even the most staid individual can become a practical joker. Since 1906, the S.S. Adams Company in Neptune, New Jersey has been making novelties that make us laugh. David Haversat is now the company's owner and is on the line. Thanks for your time, Mr. Haversat, on what must be a very busy time of year for you.

Mr. DAVID HAVERSAT (Owner, S.S. Adams Company): Yes, it is.

HANSEN: Tell us a little bit about the company's founder, Samuel Soren Adams, and the beginning of his gag company.

Mr. HAVERSAT: Yes, Sam Adams immigrated to this country in 1879; and in 1904, he worked for a coal company and it is there that he discovered that coal derivative caused people to sneeze. He took that idea and bottled this gray, murky substance and he began to sell them at a nickel a piece. All to his surprise, he ended up selling over 50,000 bottles; and in 1906, he began the S.S. Adams Company and the first product was called Cachoo, which was the sneezing powder.

HANSEN: So after people started sneezing and other people started laughing, he decided to go in other directions, I mean, toward whoopee cushions and dribble glasses?

Mr. HAVERSAT: That's correct. After his success with the Cachoo sneezing powder, he had a number of U.S. patents granted to him. One of them was the dribble glass. It drips as you drink. His number one item, which is still the company's best seller, and that's called the joy buzzer.

HANSEN: Is that the thing that you put in your hand when you shake hands?

Mr. HAVERSAT: Yes. You wind it several times, and you shake someone's hand and it gives them a little buzz and a loud noise. We also sell candy that tastes like garlic and fish.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAVERSAT: Yeah, it's - people know that in my home that you cannot have a piece of candy from the candy dish, because you don't know what you're going to get.

HANSEN: What's the best April Fools' Day prank you've ever played on someone?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. HAVERSAT: Well, that's hard to say, because I think people know that I'm a jokester and they kind of try to stay away from me on April Fools'. But there's one we call the auto exhaust whistle, where you put it in the tailpipe of a car; when you're driving along, it whistles and it sounds like there's something wrong with the vehicle. I've played that on my father a few times. Pranking is a year-round activity. I think April Fools', though, is the only time you can get away with it and just say: Hey, April Fools'.

HANSEN: David Haversat is the owner of the S.S. Adams Gag Company in Neptune, New Jersey. Thanks a lot for your time again, and I guess Happy April Fools' Day.

Mr. HAVERSAT: Yes, to you too.

(Soundbite of music)

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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