Whoopee Cushion (also known as Poo-Poo Cushions or Raspberry Cushions), is a practical joke toy that has withstood the test of time and still raises a chuckle today. It design is simple - two sheets of rubber glues together round the edges, with a hole at one end to allow air to enter and keave. And it's this mechanism that creates the loud farting noise so many of us have fallen victim to (more often than not these were teachers).
Mischievious children and should-know-better adults will target an unsuspectin person with the Whoopee Cushion, deftly sneaking the air-filled sac onto their chair just as they're about to sit down. And, parp! What a delight it was, too. God knows why it was so easy to fal prey to the Whoopee Cushion, considering they were usually bright pink in colour, though always looked like it was covered in a fine powder, it absolutely reeked of rubber and was rather on the large size, but we did and still do - usually at Christmas when someone gets it out of a cracker. It's great to see that many of them still feature the comical cartoon of a fat lady sitting on a chair (and Whoopee Cushion) with a speech bubble coming out of the cusion saying 'Poo!'.
The toy itself was invented in 1930 by the JEM Rubber Company in Toronto, Canada. Apparently, some bored workers were experimenting with scraps of rubber when they happend upon the practical joke. It was at first deemed 'too vulgar' a creation to sell successfully, but Johnson Smith Company, who bought the toy from the rubber company, managed to prove cynics wrong.
During the Whoopee Cushions 80 years existence, the original design has moved on somewhat, despite the actual idea remaining as simple as ever. Nowadays, there are self-inflating cushions - meaning swifter execution of your practical joke, of course - as well as remote-control types - meaning you can be in another room and still cause someone in the other room a great deal of embarassment without anyone pointing the finger. Much more satisfying than toying with fake plastic turds or snappy gum!