Texas Instruments Stack-A-Round Clown

Date of introduction:  1991 Display technology:  
New price:  $21.21 (1992) Display size:  n.a.
Size:  10.8" x 9.0" x 7.5"    
Weight:  17 ounces  Serial No:  
Batteries:  4*AA cells Date of manufacture:  1992
AC-Adapter:   Origin of manufacture:  China (A)
Precision:   Integrated circuits:  TSP50C11
Program steps:   Courtesy of:  Joerg Woerner

StackARoundClown_1.jpg (27025 Byte)The Stack-A-Round Clown, the first stacking toy that talks, was introduced in the US in 1991.

Five colorful rings, each representing a facial feature make up "Clarance the Clown's" face. Clarance recognizes each ring as it is placed on, or removed from, the stacking post. His friendly voice gives the name of the feature and explains the purpose of each part with a clever rhyme. Rings can be stacked in any order, allowing the child to create over 1000 faces. 

Dismantling this Stack-A-Round Clown manufactured in 1992 by (or for) Texas Instruments in China reveals a technology very similar to the various Touch & Talkies. The design of the Magic Melody Tell is centered around a TSP50C11 Voice Synthesis Processor (VSP) and makes use of just one Integrated Circuit:

TSP50C11/CSM11xxx: TSP50C50 VSP (Voice Synthesis Processor) with 8-bit microcontroller and 16k Bytes Mask ROM for both program and voice and 128 Bytes + 16 Nibbles RAM

The toy is intended for toddlers ages 12 to 36 month.

In France the toy was sold as Le Clown Magique, in Germany as Magic Clown and in United Kingdom as Chatter-Ring Clown. 

The integrated speech synthesizer introduced more than 10 years ago with the Speak & Spell will immediately create funny sounds.

Other toys for toddlers are the Discovery Depot, Listen & Learn, Magic Sorter, My Own Playphone, Peek-A-Boo Zoo and Storytime Sorter.

The Stack-A-Round Clown is featured in the Texas Instruments Incorporated leaflet Follow the Learning Path dated 1991.


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Joerg Woerner, December 23, 2007. No reprints without written permission.