Fuzzy dice

Fuzzy dice, also known as fluffy dice, soft dice, or stuffed dice, are an automotive decoration consisting of two oversized (usually six-sided) plush dice which hang from the rear-view mirror. The original fuzzy dice, first used in the 1950s, were white and approximately 3 inches (8 cm) across. Nowadays, fuzzy dice come in many colors and various sizes.[1] In Britain and other parts of the world it is considered kitsch to display such items in a car.[2][3]

A pair of fuzzy dice
A pair of fuzzy dice hanging from a car's rear-view mirror

Origin and historyEdit

The use of fuzzy dice is believed to be traced back to American fighter pilots during World War II.[4][5] Pilots would hang the dice above their instruments displaying seven pips before a 'sortie' mission for good luck. It is also speculated that the dice represented a high degree of risk associated with the fighter sorties; hundreds of pilots were shot down each week. Upon returning after the war, many airmen continued the tradition.

In the 1950s, the fuzzy dice became one of the first items sold specifically to be hung from a rear-view mirror. The Encyclopedia of American Social History notes that during the 1950s, young adults were drawn to cars that were "customized for speed, painted with vivid colors, stripes, and flames, tuck-and-roll interiors, fuzzy dice suspended from the mirror, rock-and-roll on the radio..."[6]

It has been postulated that the late Mark Shepherd Jr., a former CEO of Texas Instruments, created the first fuzzy dice in 1952, when he was a project engineer working for the company.[citation needed] He supposedly made them as a "good luck" gag gift for a professional acquaintance, knowing the original use of the dice.

Ed Sundberg and Lupe Zavala claim to have started the trend in 1959 at Deccofelt Corporation in Glendora, California.[7][non-primary source needed] Their dice were made of polyurethane squares with felt dots. When dice were produced in other countries, designers adopted a "fuzzy" plush material.

Another explanation for hanging these in a car has been proposed that "displaying the dice meant the driver was ready and willing to be 'dicing with death' in the dangerous and unregulated world of street racing."[8]

In some segments, such as the lowrider community, research indicated that even the most dedicated individuals "did not attach any significance to the dice" that was hung from their car's rearview mirror.[9]

A 1993 study found no correlation between the use of fuzzy dice and the degree of a driver's reckless driving behavior.[10] However, in states like Nevada, New Jersey, and California - as well as countries that include Australia and England - a driver may get fined for having them.[11][12][13][14][15]

A technology upgrade to the product includes illuminated LED plastic dice that change colors.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Spicer, Stuart (2001). Dream Schemes II: Exotic Airliner Art. Motorbooks International. p. 77. ISBN 0-7603-1196-X.
  2. ^ "Style: Cheesy does it". The Independent. 1997-12-06. Retrieved 2020-07-20.
  3. ^ Vokins, Stephen (2008). Nodding dogs & vinyl roofs: the weird world of quirky car accessories. Haynes. ISBN 9781844254224. to the pure kitsch of nodding dogs and fluffy dice, the motoring world's most vital accessories are gathered here
  4. ^ Stefansson, Klara (3 May 2018). "Från ekorrsvans till doftgran – här är fem bilprylar vi minns" (PDF). Metro (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Coop, Terri Lynn (24 May 2019). "The Surprising History of Fuzzy Dice". LiveAbout. p. 18. Retrieved 19 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Cayton, Mary Kupiec; Gorn, Elliott J.; Williams, Peter W. (1993). Encyclopedia of American Social History. 3. Scribner. p. 2345. ISBN 9780684194578. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  7. ^ Sundberg, Edgar. "The invention and manufacturing of Polyurethane giant foam Dice (before "Fuzzy Dice")". Ed Sundberg. Ed Sundberg. Retrieved 19 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "The Rolling Story of Fuzzy Dice". The News Wheel. ThoughtCo.com. 26 April 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  9. ^ Natural History. 91. American Museum of Natural History. 1981. p. 31. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
  10. ^ Hemenway, David; Solnick, Sara J. (1 April 1993). "Fuzzy dice, dream cars, and indecent gestures: correlates of driver behavior?". Accident Analysis & Prevention. 25 (2): 161–170. doi:10.1016/0001-4575(93)90056-3. ISSN 0001-4575. PMID 8166776.
  11. ^ Torres-Cortez, Ricardo (16 June 2016). "Think twice before hanging those fuzzy dice — here's why". Las Vegas Sun Newspaper. Retrieved 19 July 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ Petrány, Máté (7 October 2013). "The Ten Most Obscure Car Laws In The US". Jalopnik. Retrieved 20 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ Mello, Michael (23 March 2011). "Fuzzy dice and the law". Orange County Register. Retrieved 20 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Window stickers, air fresheners and even fluffy dice: The long list of items that Australian drivers can get fined for having in their car - as yet another ludicrous road rule is exposed". msn.com. Australia. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "How hanging an air freshener or fluffy dice from your mirror could cost you £1,000". rac.co.uk. Press Association. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 20 July 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ Hudson, Travis (14 April 2008). "Fuzzy Car Dice Gets A Lame, 21st Century Upgrade". Jalopnik. Retrieved 29 March 2021.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Fuzzy dice at Wikimedia Commons