Gift Giving Gets Personal

Choosing a gift for someone special can be a daunting task. You want a gift that reflects their personality and lifestyle. You want it to touch on memories and personal relationships. And there’s no gift more personal than one that incorporates the recipient’s name, birthdate, or photos.

We can’t think of a more memorable way to mark a milestone birthNY Timesday than with a framed reproduction of The New York Times front page from the day the celebrant was born. These replicas are reproduced from originals in “the Old Gray Lady’s” official archives. The personalized name and year are printed on the matte, which also contains a circulated penny, nickel, dime and quarter from the birth year. Also available is a hard-bound reproduction of the full edition of The New York Times.

Turn a photograph of family, a beloved pet, or a beautiful scene from your travels into a Personalized Photo Puzzle. Just send a photograph or JPEG image with your order and a 408-piece jigsaw puzzle kit is shipped to you in a gift box, ready to present as a memorable keepsake and truly unique gift.

Even children are tickled by personalized gifts. The Personalized Book of Nursery Rhymes incorporates a child’s name throughout the pages. The book’s 26 traditional rhymes include all the old favorites, with a new twist…Humpty Dumpty, for example, features the child’s name on the iconic egg-man’s wall. It’s an ideal choice for a newborn child or grandchild, as a christening gift, or for a youngster’s birthday.

Shop all of our personalized gifts easily on our online Gift Finder and make finding just the right memorable, unique gift easy. You can be sure that every time the recipient sees it, he or she will think of you.

An Example to Fathers Everywhere

On Father’s Day, it’s fitting that we honor our founding father, William Schlemmer, Sr.

Born in 1841, an age when many people were no strangers to hard work, Mr. Schlemmer was described as “an indefatigable worker, and a man of the highest possible character, whose habits were exemplary in the extreme, and whose business principles were beyond reproach.”

Schlemmer came alone to the U.S. from Germany as a young boy. Although he was not yet a teenager, his uncle brought him to work at his hardware store in the Bowery. Even at the tender age of 11, he proved to be hard-working and thrifty, sending half of his $2-a-week salary home to relatives.

As the business continued to enjoy success in the 1850s, it was not unusual for young Schlemmer to arrive at work by 5 a.m. and not leave till midnight. In 1857, he convinced a wealthy acquaintance, Albert Hammacher, to invest $5,000 in the company, strengthening its opportunities for growth.

Eventually, Mr. Schlemmer came to control the company, first buying out his uncle’s shares and by the early 1890’s, most of Hammacher’s. Reflecting his humble roots, the highest position Schlemmer held at the company was treasurer.

Mr. Schlemmer remained at the helm until 1914 when, at the age of 73, he passed the torch to his son, William F. Schlemmer. It was under the younger Schlemmer’s guidance that the company moved toward selling more luxury goods and unique gifts, as well as The Best, The Only and The Unexpected.

This June 15, we honor our founding father, “The Old Gentleman,” for his lofty, uncompromising standards of service and quality. He was a great example for fathers, and for us all.

Indulge Dad with a Unique Father’s Day Splurge

Of course, you can never repay your father for the years of support, sacrifice, advice, and love. But if Dad knew you were going to splurge on something he might never buy for himself, what unique gifts for Father’s Day would he choose? We have several ideas for gifts for him that will reflect his irreplaceable spot in your heart, and will leave him talking about his unique Father’s Day gift for weeks to come.

Any dad who likes to entertain would Tiki Barlove to have The Genuine Bamboo Tiki Bar by his pool, on the patio, or even in the rec room for a year-round tropical atmosphere. Recalling the Polynesian beach bars renowned for serving fruity, rum-based cocktails, the bar is made from 100% Vietnamese bamboo, kiln-dried to a natural wood that’s impervious to rain, sun, and insects. Two matching stools are included.

Father’s Day coincides nicely with the heart of the baseball season. Fans of MLB and Little League alike will be delighted by this handsome and unusual gift. The Authentic Baseball Glove Leather Chair, made by Rawlings, is crafted in the form of a gargantuan baseball glove, upholstered entirely with the same exceptional leather as the mitts used by professional ballplayers. Each chair is built to order by master craftsmen in the company’s St. Louis facility, who assemble the all-wood frame by hand.

The man who is just a big kid at heart secretly wants to tool around the neighborhood on The Drifting Adult Trike. This low-riding, big-wheeled tricycle evokes childlike abandon from a grown-up rider and is truly a unique gift for him. The trike executes the same power slides and drifting maneuvers from youth that impressed one’s peers long ago. Detailed with handlebar tassels, a bell, and painted in a high-gloss metal flake, it is also generously padded with 4″ of foam—an amenity that proves wisdom is indeed a byproduct of age.

You can see all of our unique Father’s Day gift ideas in any price range you choose on our easy Father’s Day Gift Finder.

Gift Shopping Made Easy, and Easy on Your Budget

Smartphone Charging LanternFathers give us many unique gifts in life, not the least of which are the valuable lessons they teach us: work hard, but put family first; believe in yourself; stand up for yourself.

As much as you can never fully repay Dad for everything he did for you, he wouldn’t even want you to try. Because one of the best pieces of advice he may have given you is to be careful with your money and spend it wisely.

To that end, with Father’s Day swiftly approaching, we have several ideas for gifts for him that will set you back less than $100, but will leave a priceless impression in his heart and mind. These unique gifts will suit your budget as well as his personality.

For the father with a strong sense of personal style:  our exclusive Packable Panama Hat can be packed into suitcases or squeezed flat for between-seat storage, yet the fibers’ unique woven pattern allow the hat to unfold back to its original shape. Its brim provides 360º of sun protection; woven fibers allow air to circulate.

For the father who lives by the motto always be prepared: The Smartphone Charging Emergency Lantern features two 3-watt LEDs that generate up to 250 lumens of bright light for up to 48 hours on low or six hours on high. When the battery is full, the unit can recharge a smartphone twice, an e-book once, and 40% of an iPad’s battery via the lantern’s USB port. The lantern recharges via USB in seven hours or its integrated hand crank provides up to ten minutes of light after one minute of cranking.

For the father with an artistic streak: The iPad Paintbrush allows him to create works of art on a tablet computer or smartphone. The paintbrush uses synthetic hairs infused with conductive properties, designed with the same taper, flexibility, and strength as traditional bristles, resulting in the same feel and authentic strokes. The other end of the brush has a rubber stylus that enables sketching or handwriting. Compatible with all devices with capacitive touchscreens including iPhone, Kindle Fire, Nexus, Samsung Tablet and more.

And for the father who loves to be the life of the party, The Full Bottle Wine Glass. One of our most popular unique gifts, this seamless mouth-blown glass can hold an entire bottle of wine. Its classic Bordeaux shape fits an entire hand, enabling effortless quaffing without abandoning social mores. Although it holds up to 750ml, the glass allows users to assure that they, in all honesty, had only one glass of wine.

Try our easy-to-use Gift Finder to select the perfect gift for him in any price range, to fit his unique interests and style.

Great Gifts for the Grill Master

Grill Cleaning RobotWith Father’s Day just around the corner, backyards everywhere soon will be awash in the sweet scent of barbeques. Apropos to the event, we have some great ideas for unique gifts for Dad.

This early in grilling season, you may find the gunk from the last cookout never did get cleaned off the grate. The Grill Cleaning Robot has three electric motors and a built-in CPU that rotate three cylindrical brushes to propel the robot across the grill grates and remove burnt bits of food and grease in just a few passes. We think Dad would be “grate-ful” indeed to receive this on June 15.

For the father who appreciates delicious steaks and roasts, The Marinade Infusing Meat Tenderizer helps make the main event even tastier. A built-in plunger releases marinade into meat via three needle-like applicators, quickly saturating the interior of food with flavor enhancing ingredients. The tenderizing blades have two depth settings for optimal penetration of thick cuts, and unlike tenderizing mallets, it will not alter the meat’s thickness.

Smoked meats are more popular than ever, and our Flameless Grill Smoker is the only wood chip smoker box that generates flavor-enhancing smoke without producing flames, resulting in more concentrated, robust flavor. Eight vents on the lid allow just enough oxygen to produce smoke but not enough to generate flames, allowing more smoky flavor to infuse with food.

For many guys, it just wouldn’t be Father’s Day without a little golf. The experienced linksman and the duffer alike will enjoy this unique gift: The Golfer’s Grill Clubs. These are the grilling utensils with authentic golf club grips that ensure a confident hold while flipping flank steaks or turning tournedos. The stainless-steel tongs and fork have 18″-long shafts and the sand wedge-shaped slotted spatula lets marinades drain away before placing food on the grill. The tools store in a miniature golf bag, allowing your caddy to carry the clubs with ease.

Father’s Day or Any Day…Give the Unique Gift of Comfort

At last…we can venture outdoors in open-toed shoes with no fear of stepping in a slushy, melting snowdrift! That can only mean Father’s Day is near and it’s time to find the perfect gift for him.Plantar Fasciitis Flip Flops

It’s also time to embrace the summer pleasures of sandals, flip flops, and other casual footwear. Suffering from the pain of plantar fasciitis or in need of extra arch support? No problem…anyone can enjoy summer in style with our selection of shoes fashionable enough to make a great and unique gift for Father’s Day, graduation…or just to say you care.

These Gentleman’s Sport Flip Flops have a built-in, podiatrist-designed stabilizing orthotic footbed. The deep heel cups are molded in, providing cushioning for the heel and forefoot while aligning the feet into a natural position. Resilient Vibram outsoles grip most surfaces.

Providing the same benefits, our Gentleman’s Plantar Fasciitis Sport Sandals feature durable, flexible leather uppers with fully adjustable hook-and-loop fasteners over the toes and top of foot for a custom fit; a heel strap keeps the sandals bound to the feet during outdoor activities.

The Gentleman’s Plantar Fasciitis Slip Ons pair casual good looks with podiatrist-designed stabilizing orthotic foodbeds. The slip-ons have a roomy toebox, a shock-absorbing EVA midsole, a padded collar that provides a soft cushion against the ankle, and a herringbone upper that allows feet to breathe.

And at the end of the day when the summer evening calls for cool comfort, The Gentleman’s Plantar Fasciitis Slide gives you all the podiatrist-designed features that help alleviate foot strain, with leather-like straps. A soft, padded jersey lining adds to the comfort. This unique gift will make dad say, “Ahhh…”

Keep Mosquitos from Taking a Bite Out of Backyard Festivities

Recently, we told you about some unique gifts for dad that will help him get the patio or deck ready for summer fun.

 Before that first cookout, however, he might want to consider ways to protect partiers from mosquitoes. We feature several devices that will help keep guests happy when there are no pesky flying insects to detract from the good times. Best of all, you won’t need to spray your yard or your friends with chemical bug repellants.Mosquito Trap

The one-acre natural-attractant trap lures and kills mosquitoes in yards up to one acre without harmful chemicals. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light to lure mosquitoes. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration.

Acting on similar principles, The Dusk Activated Half Acre Mosquito Trap automatically activates at the time when the pests are most prevalent and turns off at dawn. As mosquitoes gravitate to the unit, a fan pulls them into a collection bag where they are trapped and die.

If dad would like to create a haven from all flying insects day or night, a unique gift for Father’s Day might be our Patio Table Mosquito Canopy. This enclosure fits over a patio table’s umbrella to provide a protective canopy that keeps out biting insects. It’s made from sturdy 68-denier polyester netting too small for insect pests to penetrate. A zippered flap provides easy entry and exit for humans.

Perhaps the dad in your life is one who prefers to walk in the great outdoors. In coming days, we’ll tell you about some wearable items that keep mosquitoes from biting and make hiking, gardening or backpacking more pleasant, while making for great Father’s Day gifts, too.

100 Years of Mother’s Day

Hammacher Schlemmer wishes all the moms out there a happy Mother’s Day.

(We also give their procrastinating kids a gentle nudge to order a gift already if you haven’t yet. Treat Mom to an indulgence like The Heated Full Body Massage Chair and she’ll forgive your lateness.)Anna-Jarvis

This year marks 100 years since Mother’s Day has been a recognized holiday in the U.S. Its 1914 founding is usually attributed to Anna Jarvis, who launched the event to mark her late mother’s passing on the second Sunday in May, 1905.

Jarvis envisioned the celebration as intimate and heartfelt, a time to share a handwritten note or a white carnation, her mother’s favorite flower. After appealing to state and national leaders for the official recognition — legend has it she had to buy the house next door just to store all her correspondence on the subject — President Wilson finally granted her wish.

Then Jarvis watched in horror as her “baby” grew and got away from her.

She hated the mass-produced greeting cards, and the frivolous and unique gifts, and what she felt was the commercialization of a sacred day. To make her disgust known, Jarvis once disrupted a convention of candymakers, and she tried to ban Mother’s Day festivities that hadn’t received her blessing. In 1943 she even launched a petition to rescind the holiday.

This time her efforts failed.

Jarvis died in 1948, reclusive and bankrupt. She never had children of her own.

Unique Gifts Help Dad Clean Up for Summer

When Dad surveys the aftermath of this year’s other-worldly winter, he’ll find there’s work to be done on the back deck and yard. We have a great selection of unique gifts for Dad to help him to clean up for spring and the coming 93 days of summer fun and frolic.Expanding Garden Hose

Patio chairs need a deep cleaning and the barbeque tools left outdoors after a late-fall cookout might be found in strange places, like under the dog house or in the trunk of the old elm. The grill cover may need to be replaced entirely, and our Better Grill Cover will never crack, peel, or deteriorate over time.

Dad can blast that deck debris with The Best Electric Power Washer. This is the electric power washer that cleaned more effectively than other models and was easiest to use in side-by-side evaluations conducted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute.

Make Dad’s cleanup and watering tasks easier with The Auto Expanding/Contracting Hose. This is the hose that uses only water pressure to automatically expand for use and contract to 65% the size of a typical hose for convenient storage. Its construction includes a durable, multi-layered 3/4″ tubular latex inner-diameter hose that generates robust water flow and its patented design ensures against twists, tangles, or kinks, providing easy maneuverability.

The stage set, The Superior Potted Plant Hand Truck, helps Dad easily transport those heavy planters back where they can be planted with flowers and bright spring greenery.

The patio cleaned, spiffed and potted, space is ready for Dad’s unique gift surprise that will delight the entire family: The Rapid Heating Wood Burning Pizza Oven. Handcrafted in Marche, Italy, this is the outdoor wood-burning oven that’s ready to cook in 15 minutes. The oven heats up to 800° F and the domed cooking chamber creates natural convection that circulates heat evenly, allowing you to cook Neapolitan-style pizza in three minutes. Now Dad can make the finest wood-fired pizza, focaccia, amazing breads, prime rib roasts…al forno anything.

To paraphrase Ferris Buehler: Summer moves pretty fast, if you don’t prepare for it, you could miss it!

Leading the Way for Women

Elsie cutting cakeAt Hammacher Schlemmer, we take particular joy in celebrating Mother’s Day and recommending gifts for her. But we have a proud tradition of honoring women throughout the year and across the decades.

In 1934, we hired Miss Palmer as our first female salesperson — a rare employment choice at the time. Miss Palmer quickly quieted her critics when she waited on Lord Rothschild, who stopped in for a $1 thermometer but left with more than $500 in merchandise.

Our progressive attitude continued in 1945, when Else Schlemmer succeeded her late husband, William F. Schlemmer, as company president. When Else passed away 10 years later, she bequeathed $473,000 to her “children” — Hammacher Schlemmer’s cherished employees.

For more on our trailblazing history, check out our interactive timeline. And remember — Mother’s Day is only a week away, on May 11. Order your gifts for her today!