RESOURCE:

The Visible Man

Grade Range: 6-12
Resource Type(s): Primary Source, Artifacts
Date Posted: 10/27/2008

People have long sought better ways to illustrate and understand the structure and functions of the human body. Paper dolls and wax, papier-mache, and plaster anatomical models have all been used as tools to teach human anatomy. In the wake of the launch of the Sputnik satellite, designer Marcel Jovine of Closter, New Jersey, decided that American children needed to learn when they put toys together. He proposed "The Visible Man," a plastic anatomical model with removable parts. The toy was manufactured by Renwal Products Incorporated of Mineola, New York. Introduced in the fall of 1958, it initially sold for $4.98. The model has a clear plastic body or shell and comes with a "complete" skeleton, "all vital organs," and a round plastic display stand. The kit also includes instructions on how to assemble and disassemble the model and a pamphlet, "An Introduction To Anatomy: An Illustrated Guide to the Visible Man." This kit was never assembled.