If there were an award for the most audacious product to come out of Cincinnati, the Jayne Mansfield Hot Water Bottle would be a heavy favorite—and in a city home to P&G and Kenner Toys, this is no small feat. Humorous yet wink-wink sexy, the bottle hit the market in 1957 just as the busty Mansfield was establishing herself as America’s No. 1 Blonde Bombshell. Created by Don Poynter for his Poynter Products company, the designer, who turns 91 this month, is still in town and pitching new ideas.
The Mansfield figure—in a pin-up pose with hands behind her neck and wearing a painted-on black bikini—is made of “blushing” pink–colored plastic with a screw-on “hat” cap and measures close to two feet head-to-foot. Poynter’s copyright is on the bottom of the left foot. He initially made a plaster model based on photos sent by Mansfield, but eventually traveled to her L.A. home to re-sculpt, where she modeled for it. “I did it for a week,” Poynter says. “I could have done it in two days, but why rush?” Priced at just under $10, Poynter says about 400,000 were sold before Mansfield died in a 1967 auto accident. Today, it’s a collector’s item. “People write me letters because my name is on it and ask, ‘My grandfather died and we found this doll. What is it?’ ”