Remembering the Mold-A-Rama


If you were a kid in the Midwest and ever visited a zoo or museum, you probably ran into one of these machines. They were — and still are — pure magic. Even if you didn’t recall the name Mold-A-Rama, you might remember the smell and feel of warm, air-molded polyethylene in your hands.

For those who’ve never seen one of these machines in-person, they basically work like this: You insert money (today it’s $2.00) and hear the machine spring to life with a loud hum. Hydraulic arms come together in the middle behind the transparent bubble, where plastic enters the chamber as forced air pushes it into the existing mold. Roughly 45 seconds later, the mold halves pull apart, and another arm pushes the newly-molded piece off the chamber surface and into the opening compartment, where you can retrieve your still-warm plastic toy. See it in action here.

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Your HOW Guide to Chicago

For both visitors and Chicago natives who are gathering for this week’s HOW Design Live, we’ve put together a cheat sheet of our favorite places, food, and things to do in the city.

This city is so much more than hot dogs, gangsters, and tall buildings. Chicago has the reputation as the “city that works” and we’re really proud of the title that let’s everyone know that we’re good at getting it done. Designers and firms of all stripes call the Windy City home, from well-known agencies like VSA Partners, Crosby Associates, SMBOLIC, and IDEO to trailblazing firms such as Seguara, Inc, Grip Design, 50,000 Feet, Someoddpilot, Coudal Partners (and ourselves, of course). Chicago is even home to creative collectives like Quite Strong and The Post Family. There’s so much to do in this city, so consider the suggestions below just an appetizer of what’s available to do, see and eat in the Second City.

Chicago is one of the country’s greatest public transportation cities, so almost anything you want to see or do is accessible via El train, cab, bus, or by foot. We’ve given handy locators below in distance from The Hyatt and HOW Design Live, along with Google Maps links.

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