"You'll put Dr. Filibuster out of business, no problem."
-- Harry Potter to Fred and George Weasley (OP28)
Fred and George Weasley worked for several years to develop a line of comic magic items which they hoped to sell through their company, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. They were putting together order forms during the summer of 1994 with the hope of selling the items at school, but their mother was thoroughly disgusted with the whole thing and made them throw the forms away. They were undaunted, however, and they managed to impress Ludo Bagman, the head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports, with one of their fake wands. At the end of the 1994 – 1995 school year, Harry Potter gave the Weasley twins a thousand galleons he had won in the Triwizard Tournament as seed money to start them with their business.
Over the 1995 – 1996 school year, the twins attempted to hire beta testers among the other students (they themselves always served as the first test subjects), but Hermione curtailed their use of other students as testers. They were able, however, to conduct market research, conduct further product development, and build up their customer base over the course of the school year, since their focus was on developing their new business rather than studying for N.E.W.T.s.
Initially the twins ran their business as an owl-order service, but they acquired premises during their final year at Hogwarts and set up shop at Number 93, Diagon Alley.
Sometime after Fred’s death, Ron became involved in running Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (CC2,.9 CC3.7).
Some of the items invented by Fred and George:
- Basic Blaze Box (OP28)
price: 5 Galleons
A basic selection of Weasleys’ Wild-Fire Whiz-Bangs, the twins’ wizarding fireworks.
- Bruise-remover paste
Thick yellow paste that heals bruises within an hour. Fred gave some to Hermione to heal the black eye she got from a Punching telescope.
- Canary Creams (GF21)
price: 7 Sickles
Have the appearance and taste of ordinary custard creams, but transfigure the eater into a huge canary. The effect is short-lived, however, since the person moults a few moments later and becomes his or her normal self.
- Decoy Detonators
Weird-looking black horn-type objects that scurry out of sight and make a loud noise to create a diversion (HBP6, DH13)
- Deflagration Deluxe (OP28)
price: 20 Galleons
A deluxe selection of Weasleys’ Wild-Fire Whiz-Bangs, the twins’ wizarding fireworks.
- Edible Dark Marks –
They’ll Make Anyone Sick! (HBP6)
- Extendable Ears (OP4)
Has the appearance of a piece of flesh-coloured string; one end is attached to the listener’s ear, the other is placed near what the listener wants to overhear. If a solid object with an Imperturbable Charm on it is in the way, the Extendable Ear won’t be able to pick up the desired sounds.The twins developed this during the summer of 1995 to eavesdrop on the meetings of the Order of the Phoenix. Although not mentioned, it is noteworthy that Hermione was staying with the Weasleys at the time, and she had spent much of the previous school year researching magical methods of eavesdropping, so she may have assisted the twins in developing this Wheeze. The trio used them to listen in on Draco’s conversation with the shop keeper at Borgin and Burkes (HBP6).
- Fainting Fancy (OP6)
One of the range of sweets found in a Skiving Snackbox, this causes the eater to faint. During the twins’ beta tests on the volunteer Gryffindor first years, the eater remained unconscious until fed the antidote by someone else.
See “fancy” in Strictly British.
- Fever Fudge (OP18)
One of the range of sweets found in a Skiving Snackbox. Each end of the sweet is colour-coded, so that one end causes the eater to develop a high fever and the other cancels the effect.Fred and George had a lot of trouble developing the prototype, which had undesirable side effects; one of the few positive results from Umbridge’s many detentions were that the twins learned about the properties of murtlap essence through their friends.
- Guaranteed Ten-Second Pimple Vanisher (HBP6)
- Reusable Hangman (HBP6)
Advertising slogan: Reusable Hangman – Spell It Or He’ll Swing!
A toy for playing Hangman – not on paper, but with a tiny wooden man and a real set of gallows to scale, where apparently the little man will march up the gallows steps as the game progresses.
- Headless Hats (OP24)
price: 2 galleons
A Headless Hat carries a special invisibility charm that, when placed on a wearer, makes the wearer’s head invisible (along with the hat itself), but the rest of the wearer remains visible. The magic involved was sophisticated enough to impress Hermione.
- Shield Hats (HBP6)
Causes jinxes to bounce off the wearer. The Ministry bought five hundred for all their support staff. Also Shield Cloaks and Shield Gloves. Not effective against Unforgivables.
- Instant Darkness Powder (HBP6)
Imported from Peru
- love potions (HBP6)
One of the WonderWitch line of products. Effective for about 24 hours, depending on the weight of the boy, and the attractiveness of the girl.
- Muggle magic tricks (HBP6)
Non-magical card and rope tricks. Considered a novelty to wizards.
- Nosebleed Nougat (OP12) (HBP6)
One of the range of sweets found in a Skiving Snackbox. Each end of the sweet is colour-coded, where one end causes the eater to develop a serious nosebleed, while the other end cancels the effect. As of the summer before Harry’s sixth year, this appeared to be the most popular of the Skiving Snackbox trick sweets.
- Patented Daydream Charms (HBP6)
Comes in a colorful box bearing the picture of a young couple on the deck of a pirate ship. Offers a thirty-minute daydream from a simple incantation. Side effects include vacant expression and minor drooling. Hermione called them “extraordinary magic”. Fred offered her one for free.
- Portable Swamp (OP29)
When deployed, creates a swamp covering the target area. This was the Wheeze that resulted in Umbridge’s famous failed detention.
- Puking Pastilles (OP6)
One of the range of sweets found in a Skiving Snackbox. Each end of the sweet is colour-coded, so that one end causes the eater to vomit and the other cancels the effect. Fred and George had trouble with the prototype until they got the effect balanced so that the vomiting was severe but not so severe that the cancelling end couldn’t be swallowed.
Hermione gave one to Reg Cattermole in order to send him to St.Mungo’s while Ron impersonated him to infiltrate the Ministry. (DH12)
See “pastille” in Strictly British.
- Punching telescope (HBP5 , HBP6)
Trick telescope that when squeezed emits a cloud of black smoke, a bang, and a tiny fist springs out to give the user a black eye.
- Pygmy Puffs (HBP6)
Miniature puffskeins, small round fluffy ball-like creatures in shades of purple and pink, that emit high-pitched squeaks. Make cuddly affectionate pets.
- quills (HBP6)
Come in Self-Inking, Smart-Answer, Spell-Checking varieties.
- Skiving Snackbox (OP6)
A range of sweets to make the eater ill; each different category looks like a different type of sweet and causes a different kind of illness. Each sweet is colour-coded so that one end causes the illness and the other makes the effect lift.
See “skiving” in Strictly British.
- Ton-Tongue Toffees (GF4, GF5)
Imbued with an Engorgement Charm, these sweets make a person’s tongue swell up to ten times its normal size. It took six months for the twins to develop them, which didn’t please their mother as they were supposed to have been studying for their OWLs at the time.
- U-No-Poo (HBP6)
Advertising slogan: Why are you worrying about You-Know Who?
You should be worrying about U-No-Poo – the Constipation Sensation that’s gripping the nation!Causes constipation in the unwary victim. The twins turned the Ministry’s warning posters about Voldemort – You-Know-Who – to their advantage by mimicking them in their advertising for this product.
- Fake and trick wands (GF22, HBP6)
price: worth 5 Galleons, according to Ludo Bagman
Although these items look just like normal wands, when used they do something funny, such as change into something silly such as (for the cheapest variety) rubber chickens or pairs of pants (US: a tin parrot or a rubber haddock) or beat the unwary user about the head and neck (for the most expensive variety) .
- Wildfire Whiz-Bangs (OP28)
price: depends on the specific selection purchased
Wizarding fireworks creating various visual effects, carrying special enchantments that result in variations if two fireworks collide with one another or if various spells are deployed to try to get rid of the fireworks. Stunning them results in a violent explosion, for instance, while a Vanishing Spell multiplies the target firework by 10.
- WonderWitch line of products (HBP6)
Packaged in violent pink. Includes love potions and Guaranteed Ten-Second Pimple Vanisher
Rowling was asked "What is your favorite invention from Fred and George's joke shop and why?" Her response:
JKR: Skiving Snackboxes of course. Well actually... no, that's not quite true. The very best thing for me that they did was the ummm... Daydream. When you sort of... it's sort of a portable daydream that you can experience the moment you want to. Someone here has read the book about ten times, so she can remember the exact phrasing better than I can. That's my favorite thing. But the thing that you see them use is the Skiving Snackboxes, they would be very handy. I used to be very prone to nosebleeds when I was younger and it was excellent sitting there in your classes and there I go, I'm off, I'm out. And that's where the idea came from, because one of the things that they make is Nosebleed Nougats, something that you can just make happen to get you out of class (BP2).
Tags: Diagon Alley businesses funny jokes mischief practical joke items pranks shopping