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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Novelty inventor dies

December 28, 2003

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— Harold von Braunhut, the creator of Sea Monkeys, X-Ray Specs and other quirky novelties marketed to children via advertisements in comic books, has died. He was 77.

Von Braunhut, whose reported involvement with white supremacist groups in recent years tarnished his reputation as a noted contributor to pop culture, died of unknown causes Nov. 28 at his home in Indian Head, Md., after a fall.

Von Braunhut held 195 patents. Billions of Sea Monkeys, hybrid brine shrimp eggs that come to life when immersed in water, have been sold, and 400 million accompanied John Glenn into space in 1998.

In 1988, The Washington Post revealed that von Braunhut was an active supporter of the Aryan Nations. The Post also revealed that, according to relatives and other sources, von Braunhut was born a Jew.

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