16 smells that will take you right back to childhood in the 1960s

Take a whiff of the Sixties.

What did the Sixties smell like? No, the answer is not "hippies." For those who grew up in the era, the decade was a bouquet of fresh grass, new plastic, Ipana toothpaste, orange sherbet and meatloaf. 

We also think the following scents will take anyone back to the 1960s. If you could manage to track them down today.

Alas, scratch-and-sniff computer technology does not exist. Close your eyes, open your nostrils and imagine these odors. Do they take you back? What smells scream "1960s" to you?

1. The singed wiring and hot oil of electric train sets

What kid didn't want Lionel Trains? Toys today just don't have the heft of those mini metal replicas. Also, the odor. You could smell the electricity coursing through the wires, not to mention the hot transformer. If you had a track running around your Christmas tree, add some fresh pine to the mix.

2. Sun-scorched vinyl seats inside your car

Leather seat? What are we, the Clampetts? Most of us had bad vinyl bench seating in our cars, and those synthetic fabrics would roast on a hot summer day.

3. The shaved cedar and graphite of sharpened pencil shavings

If we were making a list of the sounds of childhood, the nagging grind of a hand-crank pencil sharpener would have to top the list. But the woody smell of a freshly sharpened nub ranks high, too.

4. The pasty can of Play-Doh

This is an odor that spans generations, but you had to live in the 1960s to play with the Play-Doh Funny Pumper.

5. The soapy musk of Brylcreem

British Brylcreem (citrusy) and American Brylcreem (muskier) had different scents, for some reason. Odds are, your dad's head smelled like this.

6. Model kit glue

Building plastic scale models was a much bigger hobby for kids of the 1960s. Heck, there were stores devoted to the craft. Perhaps you put together a Star Trek Enterprise?

7. Rubbery Artgum erasers

After you made mistakes with all those freshly sharpened pencils, you could wipe them away with an Artgum, "the Dry Cleaner and Eraser."

8. Devil's food cooking in an Easy-Bake Oven

Nothing smells quite like a 100-watt lightbulb cooking cake mix.

9. The oily newsprint of Silly Putty

Silly Putty certainly has its own unique muddy, greasy odor, but you most likely used the gunk to lift images off a newspaper page, forever linking those two scents.

10. The maple oatiness of hot Maypo Cereal

As the name implied, Maypo smelled like maple syrup, which, combined with the warm cereal grains, made the perfect aroma for watching Saturday morning cartoons.

11. The burnt plastic of Creeple Peeple

The "Thingmaker" toy was most likely a fire hazard and not suitable for modern safety standards. You were essentially grilling plastics, and that has a sharp stench.

12. The notes of eucalyptus and camphor in Noxzema

Teenagers today have an array of weaponry to battle acne. Back in the day, Noxzema was our main chemical to erase zits.

13. The papery bubblegum of Candy Cigarettes

Dusty powdered sugar, bubblegum, flimsy paper — it had a smell, yeah, but it sure beats tar and ash.

14. The chemical whiff of LePage's Mucilage glue

Way, way back in the day, LePage's "fish glue" was manufactured from fish skin. That undoubtedly reeked. Later, the mucilage maker switched to chemical components, but it still had a sharp, memorable smell.

15. The scorched carbon and paper of cap guns

The red strip of paper ammo reminded us of a cross of fireworks and candy dots.

16. The inkiness of Ditto paper

Before copy machines, students and offices relied on Ditto paper to make multiple copies. The thin layer of transferring ink had a sweet smell that some found intoxicating.

SEE MORE: 20 smells that will take you right back to the 1970s

Time for another dose of nose-talgia. READ MORE

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Maureen 11 days ago
The smell of play doh makes me sick,
Lola 16 days ago
I am a 1970 baby so I did have a easy bake oven and loved it
bigboy 27 days ago
Why did me tv stop showing on Sunday nights tv show Thriller
MaryHelen 1 month ago
models with their glue had to be purchased special-with a adult, a certain age? I don't remember but they were "behind the counter"-- after awhile they were discontinued 'cause kids were getting high on that glue!!!
boogerdogger 1 month ago
THE KID IN # 6 HAS BEEN BUILDING WAY TOO MANY MODELS!!!
Coraline 1 month ago
You forgot patchouli.

Loved the smell of the mimeograph ink.

Also, I remember when I was in the 8th grade most stores that sold model glue (Testors) had put it behind the counter because kids were stealing it to get high!
MrsP58 1 month ago
My sisters and I grew up without a dad in the house, but our grandpa did not use Brylcreem. Whenever we went to his house, I remember the bottle of Wildroot in the bathroom.

I loved my Easy Bake Oven, but WAY better than the cakes was the red jelly candies. The mix was hard to find.

I really enjoyed my Creeple Peeple, but for outdoor play, caps were it. Can't find your cap gun? Just unroll a strip of caps on the (concrete) backyard steps and grab a hammer!
Lol. Seems like it was more fun using a 🔨or even a rock! 🤣
On bad weather days, we would spread newspaper comics on the basement
floor and hammer caps on the characters!
daDoctah 1 month ago
I've got a box of Maypo in my kitchen, so I could easily recreate one of those smells right this instant.

One distinctive smell you missed: Toni home permanent.
Sara 1 month ago
Most of those things remind me of when I was a young child in the 1980s. Even the ditto machine copies.
JKMallaber Sara 1 month ago
Ditto! :-)
Sugarpuss 1 month ago
Wasn't #6, the model glue, the same glue they outlawed in the 70's because kids sniffed it to get high?
AgingDisgracefully 1 month ago
No one's mentioned Napalm...Victory!
Runeshaper 1 month ago
I don't know about all of you, but I want to try Maypo cereal and watch The Munsters right about now! LOL Though I wasn't around in the 60s, I remember the smell of pencil sharpeners, Play-Doh, the bubble gum cigs, and paper from those cap shooters :)
Pacificsun 1 month ago
I wonder how kids got "triggered" by the smell of mimeograph ink and that unique craft glue.
Barry22 1 month ago
Loved building plastic models, but not because of the glue.
gracie200 1 month ago
didn't have #5(brylcreem), #10(maypo), or #11(creeple peeple) but have had or experienced every one of the others.....play-doh, silly putty, luv luv luv'd my easy bake oven. I remember the pain of those scorching hot car seats growing up in Miami, Fla., and as mentioned in #6 i did put together a model of the starship Enterprise. enjoyed this article.
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Caps, candy cigarettes and my favourite, pencil shavings. There are two of us at work that still use real pencils. Love that smell!
idkwut2use 1 month ago
Mmmmm, eraser and pencil shavings...Play-Doh and Silly Putty...candy cigs and Devil's food...and my brother's cap guns!! I used to actually eat little eraser bits, they smelled so good...o.O
Bet I would've loved Maypo. Hope Waffle Crisp is a sufficient replacement.
I know Noxzema too.
gracie200 idkwut2use 1 month ago
didn't eat the erasers but all my pencils had little teeth mark indentations, lol. always pretended i was smoking those little cig candies, unfortunately grew up to be a smoker (but have since quit thank goodness), played cowboys & indians with my smelly cap gun.....ahh the good ol' days.
Waffle Crisp is okay, but Waffelos were the all time best!
Loved my caps and cap guns! Got to toss unrolled cap rolls in camp fires,
if I REALLY behaved myself. Don't remember much about Easy Bake Ovens,
except the dry cake mix was tasty.
idkwut2use idkwut2use 1 month ago
Oh yeah, another syrupy cereal! Guess there's always been one. :'D
I thought smoking looked cool and would pretend to do it with pens and whatnot, but luckily I never wanted to actually try it for real...
cperrynaples 1 month ago
2 of these items shouldn't be mentioned! I remember the Lenny Bruce routine about what he did with the airplane glue...LOL! Also, we all know why you can't buy candy cigarettes today...LOL again!
Mirramanee cperrynaples 1 month ago
Even the kid in the ad for the glue looks like he's high as a kite! LOL
cperrynaples Mirramanee 1 month ago
Yes, he saw that routine on Steve Allen...LOL yet again!
We can still buy those chalky candy cigarettes and gum cigarettes in
nostalgic candy stores. There's one near me that stocks about 500
modern and classic candies.
Maybe oldsters like us understand, but you know why cigarette companies didn't stop them! The same reason we now have fruit-flavored vapes!!
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