They were magic, indeed. Place some colored rocks in a clear glass container. Mix up some solution and pour it over them. Let the magic begin.
Boomer kids were all about stuff like mixing up chemicals. And we REALLY liked stuff like growing rocks. That’s why two brothers, James and Arthur Ingoldbsy, made a peck of money with their 1940 invention: Magic Rocks.
I remember these bad boys being advertised in comic books. The thing is, I don’t remember seeing them for sale anywhere in my hometown of Miami, Oklahoma. I got my paws on Magic Rocks for the first time while on vacation in 1967. We traveled up to Montreal that year for the world’s fair which was called Expo 67.
Somewhere on the way up or back down, we stopped into a roadside restaurant/gift shop (probably a Howard Johnson’s) and there sat the magical minerals. I convinced my parents that they were something I could not live without, and became a proud owner.
I waited until we returned home to grow the Magic Rocks. I had forgotten the exact procedure, but this site reminded me.
You mixed up the chemical solution with tap water at room temperature. You put half of the rocks into a glass container (a goldfish bowl, in case you wanted to create an weird underwater scene with a fish swimming around it) and poured in your solution. After six hours, you poured off the solution, mixed it up, and poured it back in. You added the rest of the rocks. Six hours later, or more likely the next morning, you poured the solution down the drain and rinsed off your now towering rocks. Once well rinsed, they were to be kept submerged. You could now add your goldfish if you grew them in a bowl.
The Magic Rocks were one of the coolest things a kid of the 60’s could produce in his bedroom. Their surreal towers submerged in clear water could take you on a journey in your mind to a kingdom far away, where dragons ruled the air and brave knights kept them at bay.
They would last for as long as months. Generally, they would be forgotten and the water would evaporate. They would quickly disintegrate in the open air. They would last longer under water, but would still start breaking down after a while.
But the cool thing about Magic Rocks was that they were cheap, and easy to grow again.
Magic Rocks are still cheap, and readily found online. So perhaps one rainy afternoon you might choose to revisit your childhood by growing the magnificent little towers out of colored rubble. It might do your psyche some good