Back-yard barbecuers may be interested in Fire Flakes, nontoxic dry pine chips coated with paraffin that are billed as an alternative to starting the barbie with liquid charcoal lighters. The new curly wood flakes don't give off smelly fumes or add chemical taste to food.
The bright orange chips are easy to use. Just take two handfuls and place them in the barbecue under the charcoal. Then ignite. Unlike most starters, Fire Flakes light the charcoal from underneath and typically take 15 minutes to help produce a strong fire, said company manager C. H. (Chuck) Aydelotte.
Developed by March Industries of Fresno, Fire Flakes was purchased early this year by the Ortho Consumer Products Division of the Chevron Chemical Co. The product now is being distributed in the West and Midwest. An 18-ounce box, with a suggested retail of $2.19, can start 10 barbecue fires and can be used with any type of charcoal grill.
In the Los Angeles area, Fire Flakes can be found at Albertsons, Alpha Beta, Boys, Hughes, Lucky, Vons and Vons Pavilions markets. For information on stores in your area that carry Fire Flakes, or for a free sample, write to Fire Flakes, 2445 S. Gearhart Ave., Fresno, Calif. 93725.
Helmet for Bikers
For mountain bicyclists, there's a lightweight safety helmet from Giro Sport Design Inc., the California company that developed the Prolight soft-cover cycling helmet and the Aerohead helmet for use in time-trial competitions.
The Hammerhead, the new mountain biking helmet, has an aerodynamic design similar to Prolight. But Giro has added a thin, flexible polymer outer shell for more protection. "The slick covering prevents dings to the helmet and eliminates the possibility of fabric covers getting caught in branches when cutting through the brush," a manufacturer's representative explained.
The Hammerhead weighs 8.5 ounces and features nine air vents. Its polished shell is red and white. It retails for $79.95 and is available in sizes XS, S, M and L. It can be purchased at Giro's 1,200 national distributors. For a dealer near you, call the company's toll-free number, (800) 543-4476, or write Giro Sport Design Inc., 2880 Research Park Drive, Soquel, Calif. 95073.
Looking for an unusual way to entertain and perhaps educate your children? You might want to try Musical Hands, gloves that play notes of the scale when the fingers are tapped or pressed on a hard surface. At $22.95 per pair, postpaid, they're certainly cheaper than a piano.
"This toy stimulates a child's creativity as they produce musical tones right from their own fingertips," said Matthew Hesser, executive vice president of the Musical Hands distributing company in Torrance.
The gloves, made of yellow and blue vinyl, are hand sewn and can be adjusted to fit most children ages 7 and older. Musical Hands are powered by six watch-size batteries, which are included with each pair, as is a song instruction booklet. To order, write Majon International, 23135 Samuel St., Suite 7, Torrance, Calif. 90505; phone (213) 791-1005.