New York, NY, [Month] [Date], 2012 – Hammacher Schlemmer is renowned today for offering the latest gadgets and gizmos, yet most people are unaware of the company’s long and fascinating history. Founded when John Tyler was our nation’s president, the retailer has been in existence longer than 99% of companies in the United States, including such established brands as IBM, Coca-Cola, and General Electric. To share its remarkable journey with customers and fans, Hammacher Schlemmer recently launched a new Interactive History Timeline on its website that traces the company from its beginnings to the present.
Interactive History Timeline reinforces Hammacher Schlemmer’s reputation for Innovation
Accessible from the Hammacher Schlemmer website, at www.hammacher.com/History/, the timeline chronicles important dates throughout the company’s history starting with the birth of company namesake William Schlemmer in 1841.
“Hammacher Schlemmer has a one-of-a-kind history and our new timeline allows users to explore our company’s evolution in an innovative, educational, and fun way”, said Fred Berns, General Manager of Hammacher Schlemmer.
The timeline functions similarly to the touchscreen on a smartphone or tablet, using a computer mouse rather than a finger for navigation. As users move the slider along the horizontal axis, each year is displayed in a single column with information on up to five topics (Hammacher History, U.S. History, Extraordinary Items, Media, and Catalogs) making for easy exploration. With just a few clicks, the curious can discover that in 1931, the year the Empire State Building opened in New York, Hammacher Schlemmer introduced the first pop-up toaster, specially designed for the culinary innovation of the day—sliced bread, and offered a carving set featuring genuine stag handles.
Embracing quality and innovation throughout its history
The company that would one day become synonymous with innovation began in a much more mundane industry as a hardware store at 221 the Bowery in New York City. At a time when high-quality hardware was hard to come by, Hammacher Schlemmer’s focus on top-notch tools and equipment quickly gained it a reputation for offering some of the best tools sold in the city.
As the company grew, it became well known for embracing new technologies. In 1878, the store was listed among the initial 271 original subscribers to the New York City Bell Telephone directory and it was one of the first retailers to install electric lights and offer home-delivery parcel service by truck. By 1912, Hammacher Schlemmer’s illustrated catalog, the first of its kind, spanned 1,112 pages, confirming the company as the most complete hardware source on the East Coast.
Over the years, as customer needs evolved, so too has Hammacher Schlemmer. In the early 1900s, when pianos were becoming the favored parlor instrument, Hammacher began selling piano parts. In 1902, when there were only 600 “horseless” carriages in New York City, the company opened the first auto parts department. In 1926, Hammacher Schlemmer relocated to its present location on East 57th Street, occupying all 12 floors and offering household essentials, personal necessities, and the first electrical appliances.
By the 1930s, Hammacher Schlemmer had cemented its position as an innovator. Since then, Hammacher Schlemmer has led the way in introducing the public to new items for the home, including the first pop-up toaster (1930), the first microwave oven (1968), and the first integrated caller ID and answering machine (1994). Viewed by many as intriguing gadgets, Hammacher Schlemmer saw them as functional problem solvers. “At Hammacher Schlemmer, we have always believed that the unusual should be exceptional, and the exceptional should be the norm,” said Mr. Berns. “That is why we continue to provide the most innovative, highest-quality products available.”
Another secret to longevity—Customer Service
Hammacher Schlemmer continues to serve customers’ needs in ways that no one else does or can. Even the most unusual products share the common goal of meeting the special needs of customers, from The Elliptical Machine Office Desk to The Professional Microbrewery, just as a one-of-a-kind plumb bob did over a hundred years ago.
Hammacher Schlemmer’s dedication to offering The Best products available is evident in the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that researches, tests, and rates consumer products to determine which models are superior. Started in 1983, the Institute has completed more than 1,500 product evaluations, putting conducting rigorous tests in laboratory and home-use settings, in consultation with technicians, experts, and consumer panels.
From the beginning, Hammacher Schlemmer’s standard was functional quality plus exemplary service. This standard is still reflected today in Hammacher Schlemmer’s Lifetime Guarantee of Complete Satisfaction. Unless you’re completely satisfied with your purchase, Hammacher will gladly take it back — unconditionally. “Striving to preserve the beliefs founded in 1848, we at Hammacher Schlemmer remain committed to the same level of service that, for 164 years, has led customers to return year after year,” said Mr. Berns.
About Hammacher Schlemmer
Hammacher Schlemmer is America’s longest running catalog, offering the Best, the Only, and the Unexpected since 1848. The company provides unique products that solve problems or represent the only one of their kind, and backs its products with The Hammacher Schlemmer Lifetime Guarantee. Hammacher Schlemmer’s innovative offerings are available through its catalog, online at www.hammacher.com, and at its landmark store on East 57th Street in New York City.