As novelty items go, The “Joy Buzzer” was the opposite of the infamous “X-Ray Specs” or “Sea Monkeys” or how-to books on hypnotism. It was a durable, well designed toy that actually worked as advertised.
There was no electricity in it; you weren’t actually shocking people. There was just a simple wind-up mechanism that made it buzz violently in your victim’s handshake.
I was almost always the dork in the family who excitedly ordered weird things out of The Johnson Smith Company catalog, but I seem to remember one of my older siblings sending away for this one. It was a fun gag.
It’s an old gag too. This thing has been around since 1928, and was modeled on an even older product called “The Zapper.” Because humor is timeless.