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…”

Helping Dad Find His Stroke this Father’s Day

In many families, Father’s Day is celebrated by granting Dad peace and quiet to watch the final round of the U.S. Open.
US Open
When the 113th Open tees off today at Merion Golf Club’s East Course in Haverford, PA, the venerated tournament marks its return to a location that has not hosted the U.S. Open for more than 30 years. At its original 6,500 yards and course area of 111 acres, many felt the course was too small to host a modern major. Lack of grounds limited gallery size and there was no space for corporate tents. A land acquisition allowed lengthening of the course to 7,000 yards and added spectator areas, addressing many of these concerns. Today, the course’s strong architectural features make it the ideal setting for what many consider the toughest test in golf.

A most unusual feature of the East Course is the pins. Instead of the typical flag, each pin is topped with a wicker basket. Although no one is sure of the exact reason why, legend holds that Hugh Wilson, the course designer, modeled them after the baskets that topped shepherds’ staffs he saw while touring Scotland. With no flags to help determine wind direction, the baskets add an extra challenge for golfers.

Many fathers enjoy the challenge of a tough course, but at the same time, don’t mind a little help, and we are happy to oblige. The Break Revealing Golf Glasses enable a golfer to quickly assess a green before making a putt. The Hook And Slice Reducing Golf Balls have truncated, shallow dimples around their equators and deeper, more concentrated dimples near their poles that arrest the side spin and lower drag, resulting in 50% straighter drives. You can find more items to help Dad improve his golf game here.

And if hitting the links just isn’t Dad’s thing, he still might enjoy a Miniature Golf Arcade Game with you, right in his own home. Because, of course, what matters most is spending time together.

The Great Stork Derby

Charles Vance Millar fathered no children of his own. But thanks to an unusual clause in his will, this wealthy Toronto lawyer brought 36 lives into the world and was known as the Stork Derby.The Stork Derby

Millar, a bachelor, died in 1926 after running up a flight of stairs. The 73-year-old had been known as a successful attorney and shrewd financier, but the reading of his will underscored his true passion in life: the practical joke.

His entire will was rife with pranks. He left a (previously sold) vacation home to a group of warring lawyers, and (nonexistent) brewery stock to temperance advocates.

And then there was the ninth clause of the document, which stipulated that Millar’s remaining estate — valued at around $500,000 — be left to the Toronto woman who gave birth to the highest number of children in the 10 years following his death.

The jackpot provoked a minor baby boom.

This was the ’30s, and families throughout the country were struggling to make ends meet. For many Toronto women, Millar’s estate seemed a legitimate solution to their Depression-era troubles. They bore child after child.

Meanwhile, the country’s top attorneys — Millar’s former colleagues, whose legs he may have been pulling one last time from six feet under — debated the legality of the will. The matter was even brought before the Supreme Court of Canada. But the document prevailed and the Stork Derby continued on.

In the end, four women split the purse. Alice Timleck, Kathleen Nagle, Annie Smith and Isobel MacLean had each given birth to nine children since 1926, and each received $125,000.

Millar’s intentions with the contest remain a puzzle. As he wrote in his will, “What I do leave is proof of my folly in gathering and retaining more than I required in my lifetime.”

Although he left behind no biological heirs, his legacy lives on through those 36 Stork Derby babies and his amusing story.

Top Activities for Dads and Daughters

Dad and DaughterIs she a girly girl? Or more of a tomboy? Either way, she’s Daddy’s little princess, and you want to spend some quality time together this Father’s Day.

Participating in an activity together is a great way to celebrate the holiday and even launch a new annual tradition. According to researchers at Baylor University, it can even become a pivotal moment that strengthens your entire relationship.

The key is to choose an activity that’s appropriate for her age and fun for both of you. Here are some great activities for Dads and Daughters:

For the Younger Set

Imagination governs the lives of many little girls, and you can be her knight in shining armor if you close your eyes and play along. Take a seat at the tiny table and enjoy a pretend tea party with her and her stuffed animals. Or let her paint your nails and clip barrettes into your hair (make sure someone snaps an “after” photo because the two of you will cherish it later).

If her attention span permits, take her to a museum, or get dressed up and bring her as your date to the ballet. A baseball game works, too, if that’s more her — and your — style.

The Teen Years

During the terrible teens, your daughter may occasionally groan at how uncool you are. Try not to take it personally. You can win her respect and maintain a close bond by listening to her interests and making a commitment to spend time together.

The Baylor study also found that playing sports often brought fathers and daughters closer. So go for a bike ride, hit the roller rink or try rock-climbing.

If sports aren’t her (or your) thing, head to the kitchen and show her how to make your famous spaghetti sauce. Or prove that you’re the best dad ever by picking up tickets for her favorite band’s concert.

When She’s All Grown Up

Just because she’s out of the house doesn’t mean she’s out of your life. Dads and Daughters still need quality time. Make a monthly date to see a movie or grab a quick lunch. Or revisit one of the favorite activities you used to enjoy together when she was a child.

Nature’s Most Extreme Dads

Human fathers may complain about having it tough when they’re enlisted to change a diaper or bring a nap-deprived toddler to the supermarket. But some dads in the animal kingdom do the lion’s — or seahorse’s — share of the parenting. Today we bring you nature’s most extreme Dads.

Consider the male African bullfrog. These huge amphibians first watch over the fertilized eggs and then are responsible for babysitting the tadpoles — all 4,000 of them. If the young are stranded in a shallow pool, it’s this extreme Dad who uses his thunder thighs to dig a channel so the kids can escape to deeper water.Most Extreme Dads

In the tropical wetlands of Africa, Asia and elsewhere, the male jacana bird flies solo. After Mom lays the eggs, she leaves — to find a new breeding partner. Dad, meanwhile, incubates the eggs, teaches the chicks to find dinner, and will even carry an endangered baby under his wings, all while Mom remains absent.

The male emperor penguin is often a single parent, too, keeping an egg warm and going hungry for two long, cold Antarctic months while Mom’s away.

In Africa, the male lion may shirk his dad duties most of the time — he’s known for napping up to 20 hours a day — but when Mom’s out hunting, he guards the cubs and defends their territory. That thick mane around his neck is to protect against scratches during the vicious fights that can occur when a new male wants to join the family.

And then there’s the seahorse, where the father, not the mother, gets pregnant. These most extreme dads of this upright swimming species have a brood pouch, where the female deposits her eggs. Then, Dad gets to experience the miracles of weight gain, stretch marks, and labor. Within a few hours of giving birth, he’s ready to mate again.

Like Father, Like Son – Father Son Activities

You’re the apple of his eye. He’s the deserving owner of a mug that says “World’s Best Dad.” You and your pops, you’re pretty sure, deserve mention among other famous father-son duos such as Kirk and Michael Douglas and our 41st and 43rd presidents.

But how can you ensure this Father’s Day will be another epic episode of quality father son activities? These activities are guaranteed to strengthFather and Sonen your bond:

  1. Go fish: It’s you, your dad, a boat, and his lucky fishing lures. Actually hooking your dinner is optional.
  1. Hit the links: Or the batting cage, or the basketball court. Whatever the game, sports have a way of bringing fathers and sons together (just go easy on your old dad and let him win every so often).
  1. Tackle a project: Fathers seem to know everything, whether it’s rewiring the house or whittling, or just sorting through the stamp collection. Today’s the chance for him to pass on that knowledge.
  1. Root for the home team: Ditch the couch and catch the game live, in the fresh air.
  1. Fire up the grill: At the end of the day, what’s better than meat and fire and father and son?