Hasbro & Topps certainly had a business relationship, but while it looks as if Topps was first with this transfer technology, it's hard to establish whether Hasbro's product was either a consequence of sharing, or of competition.
Quite possibly this transfer method was developed by a third party who licensed it to both companies — although if so, I haven't been able to find any clues to their identity. Even Topps & Hasbro themselves have denied all knowledge of their own history with transfers!
At any rate, the result is the same. Hasbro kept their quaint transfer products going for a considerable time, & marketed them widely not only as retail products, but also as promotional items such as the eight Beatles Yellow Submarine Rub-Ons sheets which were given away with Nabisco Rice Honeys & Wheat Honeys breakfast cereal. (I have a good collection of those, if there is demand to see them…)
UPDATE: Yellow Submarine Rub-Ons page now added — see link below!
However, the product I've chosen to illustrate these Rub-Ons first is the Banana Splits Stand Up Rub-Ons set.
This is a good set for our purposes, because the previous owner has already rubbed down a few of the transfers onto their backing cards. This demonstrates at once both how good & how bad the technology could be.
Above, the remaining transfers still on their sheets; below, the unused cards. The small pieces slot into the larger ones at right-angles, allowing them to stand up; hence the name "Stand-Up Rub-Ons". A wooden stylus, similar to an ice-lolly stick, was provided in the pack for use in rubbing the transfers onto the cards.
Here are both sides of the enclosed leaflet, describing the other titles which were available at the time. Since the copyright date is 1968, this would most probably have been published that year or the year after.
"Pop-Up Rub-Ons" were similar to, but more elaborate than, the Stand-Up Rub-Ons, since complex diorama-style backgrounds were provided & there were over a hundred Magic Rub-Ons rather then merely ten in a set.
"Picturama Rub-Ons" came with over two hundred Magic Rub-Ons, but they were strictly two-dimensional; much more like Letraset Panoramas, in fact, right down to the three-foot long backgrounds. I don't think this can have been a complete coincidence…
UPDATE: Picturama Rub-Ons page now added — see links below!
A list of all the Magic Rub-Ons sets we've uncovered so far can be found on the Picturama page.
As a final note on Rub-Ons, in 1977 Letraset produced a range of eight Super Heroes & Hanna-Barbera Rub-Ons, licensed by Hasbro. So once again, an accord had been reached!
Picture Credit: The SPLAT Scan Archives
© Tom Vinelott 2023