Chia Pets are small ceramic figurines that provide the basis for a thick growth of young plants. As seeds sprout on the ceramic base, the leaves are meant to resemble the fur of an animal or the foliage of a tree. The Chia Pet was "invented" and marketed in 1977 by Joseph Enterprises, Inc., a California-based manufacturer of future novelty goods such as The Clapper (which turns lights off with a clap of the hands) and the VCR Co-Pilot (which helps people program their VCRs).
Chia Pets remain popular into the twenty-first century. Chia fans can buy pet sheep, pigs, bunnies, cows, and so on, as well as Chia heads. No matter the shape, chia seeds (Salvia columbariae) are placed in the grooves of the ceramic figures and watered. The ease with which Chia Pets can be tended make them popular among children and young adults, and as novelty gifts. The manufacturer also markets a Chia herb garden. Chia Pets resemble the other low-care fads of the late twentieth century, such as pet rocks (see entry under 1970s—The Way We Lived in volume 4) and Tamagotchi electronic pets.
For More Information
Bellis, Mary. "Inventors: Chia Pet." About.com.http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blchia.htm (accessed March 29, 2002).
"Chia Pets." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/culture-magazines/chia-pets
"Chia Pets." Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America. . Retrieved September 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/culture-magazines/chia-pets
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