A Cartesian diver is a scientific novelty. If you place it in a plastic bottle full of water and screw on the top, as you squeeze on the bottle the diver sinks and rises on your command. Modern versions of this novelty can still be purchased, although they are likely to be made out of plastic.

The plastic toreador and bull have magnets under their bases. This means that as you move the bull closer and closer to the toreador, the toreador starts twisting and turning to avoid attack. A logo on the front of the box reads ‘TSL’. Made in England.

Fountain pens were common in the mid 20th century. When you lend this pen to a friend, there is a loud explosion as they take the top off. To ‘load’ this pen you need to pull back the spring-loaded metal plate and put a percussion cap underneath. Then carefully put the top of the pen in position, so stopping the spring-loaded metal plate from impacting the cap. When the top of the pen is next removed, the metal plate is free to flip round and land on the cap, causing it to explode. The advertisement is from a Davenports catalogue.

The celluloid figure has a celluloid spring at the bottom. When the figure is pushed down on the spring, and then released, it shoots up into the air to around 300mm height.

This item is of interest because of the simple but clever design of the brass device which allows the baton to be unscrewed and folded into half, whilst still having the two halves attached.

This item is probably no more than an ordinary pencil, but the fact that it is so long makes it most suitable for using the line; “I bought this pencil for you because I know you like to write long letters.”

When you hold the glass swan around its body, the air inside heats up and the liquid bubbles up into the small glass bowl at the top, which has small glass fish swimming in it. This is a sample from Ohnishiya Honten in Japan.

This box allows you to show it as empty, or full of cigarettes, or indeed any other object that fits. The box, and others like it, were made in Japan. Another example is item N2479.

Fill this box up with cigarettes and when you want to offer one to a friend, simply press the small metal knob and a cigarette automatically shoots out. The case is filled with cigarettes by opening up a wooden slide on the side of the case. A patent number is given on the inside of the slide. Made in Japan.