On this day in 1964, Pan Am flight 101 from London, whose passengers included an up-and-coming band from Liverpool, touched down at New York’s JFK Airport at 1:20 p.m. The Beatles arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago created pandemonium the likes of which had never been seen and ignited a musical revolution that came to be known as “The British Invasion”. Though we cannot say for certain whether John, George, Paul, or Ringo paid a visit to our Manhattan store during this trip, somehow the Boys learned of our “Nothing Box”—a small box with two rows of lights on its side that did nothing but flash in a random sequence until its battery ran out. (It was subsequently rechristened “The Something Box” to avoid confusion with a similarly named product.) This must have appealed to the Fab Four’s well-known dry sense of humor, because they purchased hundreds of Hammacher Schlemmer’s Nothing Boxes as gifts.
One generation removed, the 60’s-era Nothing Box bears scant resemblance to its modern descendent The Illumicube. This clear acrylic cube has an array of 64 multi-colored LEDs that systematically flash in millions of different combinations, producing a mesmerizing light show. Many of our customers tell us they also use it as a nightlight. For those who prefer a multi-media experience, we recommend The Musical iPhone Illumisphere. Paired wirelessly to a smartphone, this geodesic dome plays music through its integrated speakers while multi-colored LEDs create a psychedelic light show in synch with your audio tracks. Sgt. Pepper’s anyone?