Slap Wraps, or Slap Bracelets, were 9-inch pieces of stainless steel covered in decorative fabric. The item can envelope someone’s wrist in one quick motion. In addition, the motion of slapping the bracelet to your wrist was entertaining, especially for children. However, some schools banned the use of the part toy and part accessory because of the item being and a distraction and some knock-offs of the bracelet can cause harm to students. Mental Floss details the history of the 1990s phenomenon:
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Slap Wraps were the invention of Stuart Anders, a Fort Prairie, Wisconsin, native who graduated from college with a degree in education in 1983. Teaching jobs were hard to come by at the time, so Anders took on substitute positions and coached sports.
Anders pulled out a self-rolling tape measure, which curled up with the flick of his wrist, and began fidgeting with it. He thought it would make a cool bracelet, provided someone covered the steel in fabric.
He called the company who made the tape measure, but they were no longer manufacturing it. Anders didn’t know what else to do. While he thought the idea of a snap bracelet could be successful, he didn’t have the money or other resources to commit to producing them himself. But he kept the prototype on his steering wheel.
Bart found a receptive audience in Eugene Murtha, who had just opened Main Street Toy Company in Simsbury, Connecticut, in 1988. Murtha, a former vice president of Coleco during that company’s Cabbage Patch Kid craze, immediately saw the potential in Anders’s invention. He agreed to distribute Slap Wraps, paying Bart and Anders royalties.
image via Mental Floss