S.S. Adams, the Edison of Practical Jokes

Event detail

The San Francisco Public Library presents S.S. Adams, the Edison of Practical Jokes. This exhibit is a collection of patents from, professional prankster, Soren S. Adams. The exhibition opens April 1st and continues through May 31st, on the fifth Floor of the Main Library.

S.S. Adams went from humble origins to inventing many of the famous practical jokes including the joy buzzer, sneezing powder, and the dribble glass. Soren Sorenson Adams was a first generation immigrant from Denmark. While working for a dye company in 1904, he realized that derivative of one of the dyes caused people to sneeze. He decided to market this product as “Sneezing Powder” to use to prank unsuspecting groups of people. He patented a delivery method and started the Cachoo Sneeze Powder Company. It proved to be very popular, though controversial.

Later, he expanded his product line, inventing new gags, and renamed it to the SS Adams Company. In 1909, he invented the dribble glass, a drinking glass with minute holes in it causing water to drip on the victim. In the 1930s, he patented both the Joy Buzzer, a handheld device that imitates a shock, and a gag that involved snakes shooting out of a can. Soren S. Adams continued to invent new products through to the 1950s.