Bubblers' Greatest Challenge Was and Always Will Be:
The Solution. The Bubbly Liquid suitable for big fun.
If you understand why that statement is true, you are ready to move on to the Mysteries & History of Bubble Play & Performance found in the Library of this website.
If you are not sure why the statement above is true: Keep reading. The remainder of this page is for you. You'll need some perspective before you can truly appreciate the amazing accomplishments of our Forebubblers. Enjoy!
Until very recently, bubbles were Difficult to make.
I go with the mid 1400s as the time when soap bubbles are first made for fun.
Before, only the super rich had soap-like stuff. It was used in textile and other product manufacturing. Not washing or cleaning around the house.
By 1450 commercial soap production in Europe put suds into the hands of more common people. Kitchens used it to clean dinnerware, pots and pans.
Kids discovered other uses.
For the next 500 years or so (when detergent is invented) people made their bubbles with Bar Soap mixed in Water. Maybe a little glycerin. The exceptions: Some scientists made their own special soaps. In a few countries people first made bubbles with plant saps (picture at right) or soap nuts.
How much fun did they have with simple soapy water? A lot! But, compared to today, our Forebubblers needed more luck, skill, practice, patience and usually a clay pipe. There were many more Pops than bubbles and flicking a bubble to float freely away was another challenge.
Because bubbles were so difficult to make, children didn't have the habit of popping their bubbles. Each shimmering sphere was an amazing success to be kept aloft and alive for as long as possible.
An Industrial sized leap forward.
In the 1940s chemical detergents replaced bar-soap in bubble solutions started buying jars of bubble juice from stores. Bigger, longer lasting bubbles were easier to make! In a flash it was out with the old clay pipe & in with the little wire "wand" in every jar.
Commercially produced solutions have consistent performance qualities. This made inventing and doing fancier tricks possible. New bubble toys needed the liquids that came with them to work as advertised.
Notable brands emerged including Pustefix, Wonder Bubbles which became Strombecker's Mr. Bubbles.
As the decades rolled along, store bought bubble solutions improved their formulas. Better performance came with the addition of celluloses, polymers & hygroscopic chemicals to replace glycerin. These new ingredients changed how the soap films behaved, made them more elastic, self healing and longer lived.
Example: By the late 1960s, Blowing a bubble in a bubble, right through the wall of the first, was possible for the first time. Which brings us to. . .
Tom Noddy was the first to take full advantage of bubbles' new abilities when in the 1970s he started blowing bubbles within bubbles & invented sculptures with his ten cent jars of bubble juice. Visit Tom's website: BubbleMagic.com
The Soapy Solution I use and recommend?
FYI: When people ask, "What's the best? What should I get for my bubble-crazy kid? What should I use to get started performing ASAP?" UB is my answer.
For all of my bubble work I use Uncle Bubble brand solutions. I'm not alone. More pros around the world use it than any other product.
Uncle Bubble is a family owned and operated company with worldwide distribution and a long reputation for inventing and delivering extraordinarily high quality products, ethically manufactured, quality conscious, environmentally responsible and rigorously tested to ensure safe products for all ages. (HERE'S their story.)
School shows, strolling acts, fairs, festivals, hospital visits, hospitality suites, birthday parties. Face painters, magicians, balloon twisters, party gamers—it seems like everyone is getting into the bubble act. UB is helping to make that possible.