Report from the world of backyard technology


Photography by Mike Adair


Cranked-Up Creativity

Mike Adair’s wife reports that he sleepwalks more when he’s in the middle of designing a toy. Adair, a 44-year-old artist from Overland Park, Kan., works at Hallmark. In his spare time, he builds brightly colored wooden crank toys in his basement workshop.

Most of his toys employ a hand crank that powers pulley wheels that create animation. The ...

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