Famous Drinking Bird is for Adults Only

The Famous Drinking Bird Is For Adults Only

The Famous Drinking Bird is an oldie but a goodie. [Image shared by Amazon]

Going by many different names since its creation by some uncredited Chinese innovator at the beginning of the 20th century (and its subsequent theft patenting by an American in 1946): the Dippy Duck, the Insatiable Birdie, the Thirsty Bird Toy, the Vintage Dunking Bird, the Magic Drinking Bird, and now, the Famous Drinking Bird, it’s said to have impressed the smarty-pants off of none other than the smartiest of known pants, Albert Einstein, when he was on a trip to Shanghai in the ’20s.

Why? Well, with its simple, unassuming appearance, the Famous Drinking Bird actually demonstrates several scientific principles with the assistance of an ordinary glass of water. The dichloromethane contained inside of it has a low boiling point that allows the Famous Drinking Bird to operate as a heat engine at room temperature. Other concepts demonstrated include: the Maxwell–Boltzmann distribution, the combined gas law, heat of vaporization, the ideal glass law, torque and center of mass, wet-bulb temperature, and capillary action of the included wicking felt.

But even if none of that is of any interest to you, you can enjoy the novelty of watching a body that keeps moving as long as you can continue to give it drinks — just like that barfly uncle that the rest of the family doesn’t really like to talk about.

Is the Famous Drinking Bird Really for Adults Only?

Why would I say that the Famous Drinking Bird is for adults only? Is there something naughty about this seemingly innocent-looking little fellow?

Well, there’s a reason to be cautious about handing this over to a child without adult supervision, and it has nothing to do with the bird being… dirty. Rather, its body is constructed with real glass; inside that glass is colored liquid that can easily stain everything you own should the glass ever be broken. I suppose this is an improvement over earlier models in which this liquid was also flammable, but broken shards of glass still make poor playmates in the hands of children.

But under the watchful eye of an adult (or in the hands of a very responsible child unencumbered by the curse of clumsiness, I suppose), the Famous Drinking Bird can be used to entertain as well as teach the aforementioned scientific principles. One common fallacy that you can help dismiss right off the bat: the Famous Drinking Bird is not a perpetual motion machine! It will eventually run out of water, and you’ll eventually have to “refuel” it — just like you have to refuel your car, which, as your monthly budget can affirm, is definitely not a perpetual motion machine!

Intrigued by seeing this weird-looking toy for the first time, or are you feeling nostalgic from playing with one back in the day? Whatever your reason for the fascination, you can get your own Famous Drinking Bird right now and stop gawking!

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I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.