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A common error for newcomers to clicker training is to think that it  is "new". The real history starts with the clickers, themselves. Since the  later part of the 1800's, tin toys have been popular. One of the most common  toys was called a "Tin Cricket" -- a generic term for any small metal toy  with a piece of spring steel attached, that clicked when pressed. The first  ones were indeed made of tin. Modern clickers are made of injected molded  plastic. Their most common use is as an advertising "giveaway." Suprisingly,  even the "box" clickers are not really new. One of the most common uses for  clickers has been for advertising. My oldest clicker has the date of 1904  on it.

(It was made in Newark, N.J. by Whitehead and Haug. The front is a  common campaign "button". The back is an arched metal body with a small piece  of spring steel set in a slot. 93 years later, it still "clicks" )

Here are a few of my favorite clickers -- BTW, one way to get a great discount on my products is to have an interesting  metal clicker to trade. The ones I am most interested in are made by U.S. Metal Toy Company, Kirchoff, almost any Japanese clickers and especially European ones. Advertising clickers are almost always interesting -- unless I already have it :)

A Hubert H. Humprey campaign clicker.The Smithsonian has  a  "Click with Dick" box clicker from the 1972 Nixon campaign.

This is a common type of advertising clickers. Many businesses  used them as promotional "give-aways."

A typical Frog clicker   - one of the more common  shapes.

A genuine "Tin Cricket" -- one of the few actually shaped  like a cricket.

A replica of the clickers used on D-Day by the 82nd and 101st.  Airborne Divisions during the invasion of Normandy. The clicker acted as  a signal that would indicate the friendly (or fiendly) nature of unidentified  soldiers. One click-click was the "sign" - if the other person was an allied soldier, he would click-click twice. An unanticipated irony was that the double click-click counter-sign sounded very much like the bolt action of a German Mauser. Several veterans have reported that when they click-clicked with their clicker, they mistook the click-click, click-click of a German rifle being loaded for the "friend" signal. Veterans of both airborne divisions remember using the clickers effectively for their intended purpose. Genuine D-Day clickers are incredibly rare.  

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