The term clackers refers to a vintage toy which was briefly popular in the early 1970s. Its name refers to the fact that its point was to have the two balls of which the toy consisted of clicking against each other. It was similar to the actual Argentine weapon known as bolas.
They are formed out of two hard plastic marbles, each about two inches in diameter, attached to a ring with sturdy string. The player puts his or her finger in the ring, allowing the marbles or balls to hang below. Through a gentle up-and-down hand motion, the two balls swing apart and together, making the clacking noise that give the toy its name. After a little practice, it is possible to get the marbles swinging so that they knock together above the hand as well as below.
Clackers were eventually discontinued after children got injured whilst playing with them: besides being fairly heavy and fast-moving, the spheres, being made of hard acrylic plastic, could shatter upon striking each other, presenting a safety hazard.
There is a recurring urban legend that the clacker spheres were made of glass, although no one has ever produced an actual glass set. The confusion may have arisen because many sets were made of transparent colored acrylic which resembled glass.
The toys enjoyed a brief renewal of popularity in the 1990s when clackers consisting of a handle and plastic triangles with the plastic marbles at the end giving weight to the free moving toy. It was played the same way and were always in bright neon colours.
In the 1972 movie Beware! The Blob, there is a humorous scene where boy scouts are playing with clackers.
In the episode "Megan's First Kiss" of the teen comedy Drake and Josh, Drake buys two pairs of clackers, remarking "They're the hottest toys in the Netherlands!"
In the episode "Rumor of Love" of the teen comedy Zoey 101, Michael can be seen with and is asked about a purple pair of clackers he is playing with. He is also very preoccupied with them in the episode "Walk-a-thon"
In the video game WarioWare: Touched!, one can obtain a set of clackers as one of the toys in the "Toy Room".