Finding the Keys to Musical Enjoyment

It’s time to tickle the ivories…September is National Piano Month! Hammacher Schlemmer has a long association with this ever-popular parlor instrument, harking back to our days as a hardware emporium.

In the early years of the 20th century, we were one of the country’s largest suppliers of piano parts, stocking almost everything that went into a piano except for the case. At one point, 20 boxcar loads a year went to one customer, Kimball Brothers—enough for 12,000 pianos.

In 1991, the National Piano Foundation appointed Schroeder from the comic strip Peanuts as the official spokesperson for National Piano Month. Schroeder’s mission is to encourage people of all ages to study and appreciate piano music. His unique gifts for playing a toy piano can be inspiration for all of us.

It’s never too late to learn, and if mastering piano is on your bucket list, The LearnThe Learn To Play Piano DVDs to Play Piano DVDs are a great way to get started. This 12-DVD collection of piano-playing tips and techniques is led by Scott Houston, the Emmy Award-winning host of the public television series The Piano Guy. Geared toward beginners (but with a wealth of insight for more experienced players), the series offers 22 hours of the “tips, cheap tricks, and professional secrets” Houston is famous for.

Another instructional tool is The Learn To Play Keyboard. This keyboard includes comprehensive instructional software lauded by The Wall Street Journal as “well-planned and effective.” Exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer, the software contains over 400 lessons and more than 70 video demonstrations. The keyboard plugs into a computer, allowing the software to “listen” as you play, providing instant feedback. There’s a version for children, too.

For simply a toe-tapping good time, the world’s largest dance-on piano features a 28 sq. The World's Largest Toe Tap Pianoft. piano mat. A unique gift for would-be musicians, it allows budding virtuosos to compose their own music as they dance, jump, or run on the keys. Fourteen white and 10 black keys, almost two full octaves, produce individual tones or melodic harmonies. Musicians can record and instantly listen to their compositions through an integrated speaker.

In Peanuts, Schroeder had a unique gift that made him a virtuoso on a toy piano. But with a bit of practice, any of us can turn 88 keys into the key to musical enjoyment.

All in favor of vision health, say “Eye”

August is National Eye Exam Month, dedicated to the importance of eye health and safety.

The Strain Relieving Eye MassagerVision health is one of the most unique gifts of physical well-being. If you are between the ages of 40-65, your eyes should be checked at least every two years. For those over 65, vision should be checked annually.

Even for healthy eyes, everyday eye strain is not uncommon. The Strain Relieving Eye Massager uses mist, gentle vibration, and warmth to relax and soothe the eyes. The mask’s silicon seal gently contours to the unique shape of your face. This eye massager is a thoughtful and unique gift for anyone who spends hours in front of a computer, does a lot of close-up work, or simply needs some relief and relaxation.The Eye Fatigue Preventing Reading Glasses

You may be able to mitigate strained eyes with The Eye Fatigue Preventing Reading Glasses. Infused with melanin, the pigment that gives eyes their color, protects from UV damage, and reduces glare naturally, these magnifying reading glasses prevent eyes from tiring as you read or view a computer monitor.

For those who need a little help with tiny print or close work now and then, The Only Adjustable Focus Reading Glasses adjust the focus of each lens with the simple turn of a dial, using fluid-injection technology developed by a physicist at The Only Adjustable Focus Reading GlassesOxford. As the dial on either side of the frame is turned, the elastic membrane bows inwards or outwards, subtly changing the prescription in each lens independently.

The gift of sight is one of the best gifts you’ll ever enjoy, so make your appointment to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist now, during National Eye Exam Month.

Adding a New Dimension to Doodling

Do you like to doodle? How would you like to doodle in 3D?

The World’s First 3D Printing PenThe World's First 3D Printing Pen lets you create three-dimensional freehand plastic drawings. Instead of releasing ink, this pen extrudes warm thermoplastic that hardens within seconds.

You can download blueprints of a 6″-tall Eiffel Tower, a napkin holder, or even Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Just trace the designs and mend them together with the 3D pen. With some practice and a steady hand, you can even draw in the air to create a bird’s outstretched wing or connect two faces of a cube. Imagine the unique gifts you could create for friends and family!

The 3D Printing Pen has been used by artists to craft display pieces for the Museum of Modern Art’s Design Store window in New York City. An aspiring fashion designer used the pen to create a collection of wearable art. The pen has even been used to create parts for use in robotics.

As amazing as any 3D printer is, this pen is even more versatile, thanks to the freehand ability it offers. A Kickstarter campaign made the pen a reality, and now this amazing pen can put the magic of 3D printing right in your hands, too.

Enhancing the Art of Tailgating

Several weeks of summer remain before we’ll feel fall’s frosty air, but football starts this Sunday when the New York Giants face the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH. The game itself is just one part of this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement event. The multi-day schedule includes parades, autograph signings, a rib cook-off, and a fan-appreciation tailgate party.

Tailgating before a game is not exclusive to football, but we think pigskin fans have the best tailgate traditions. We have several ideas to enhance your tailgating experience, whether at an NFL game, a college homecoming, or simply under the Friday night lights nearest your home.

The Tailgaters’ Hammock sets up on any 2″ trailer hitch in just 10 minutes. Two hammock chairs have hanging footrests, allowing tailgaters to relax in a reclined position while keeping feet and legs elevated.

For the ultimate in portability, nothing beats The Backpack Cooler Chair. This chair has a cooler bag large enough for up to 24 12-oz. cans. The chair weighs only 13 lbs. and has two shoulder straps for comfortably carrying the unit to a tailgate or the beach. There’s even an integrated side table that folds out from the right armrest to rest your snacks.

Bad weather can be the tailgater’s enemy, but you won’t be caught unprepared with The Rugged All Weather Radio. This all-weather AM/FM radio is built to resist water, dust, and shock. It operates on power, batteries, or can plug into your car’s DC outlet.

Finally, for the football fan who prefers to cheer his or her team from the comfort of home, these slippers proudly display the logo and colors of your favorite NFL team. The uppers have the embroidered logo of the gridiron gladiators you cheer on every Sunday. They make a unique gift for any armchair athlete.

Unique Gifts For le Tour de Neighborhood

After 2,276 miles, four countries, and various crashes eliminating some of the race favorites, the 101st Tour de France comes to a conclusion today. A punishing 21-stage, 3-week race, the Tour traverses mountain peaks, fields of lavender, impossibly narrow European streets and French countryside with beauty that defies description.

Here in the U.S., many states and cities now feature professional cycling tours, and among recreational cyclists, the sport is more popular than ever. A bicycle is a great way to get around town. It burns calories and when a bike ride substitutes for a car trip, it saves money, reduces traffic congestion, and is environmentally green.

Perhaps you or someone you know regularly uses a bike to get to work or school. At dusk, dawn or at night, The Cyclist’s Virtual Safety Lane moThe Cyclist's Virutal Safety Laneunts to a bicycle’s seat post and projects two 5-milliwatt red lasers onto the ground, generating a virtual bicycle lane. Visible under headlights and streetlights from over a mile away, this is a thoughtful and unique gift for a bike commuter.

The Tour de France riders conquer impossibly steep mountain passes, but many of us need a little help just getting up the hill at the end of the street. The Electric Comfort Bicycle features a 500-watt electric motor that assists riders up hills or across broad flats for easy cruising. Speeds up to 20 mph are achieved with the motor only; pedaling will increase speed further. A full charge of its battery provides up to 30 miles of coasting.

The Virtual Mountain Bike Racing SimulatorPerhaps you’ve experienced the thrills of mountain biking, but can’t make it out to the terrain as much as you would like. The Virtual Mountain Bike Racing Simulator combines an exercise bike with a 17″ LCD video screen to simulate riding through outdoor courses. The bike’s electronically controlled pedaling resistance automatically increases or decreases to replicate the terrain gradients shown on the screen.

No doubt, the Tour de France riders will be relieved to pedal into Paris today for the end of this grueling race, but on a more modest level, a bike ride feels good and is good for you. So savor summer’s unique gifts with a refreshing bike ride today.

Sno Time Like the Present for a Cool Treat

Statistically speaking, the third week of July is the hottest time of the year. How appropriate, then, that today is National Ice Cream Day.

First designated in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, the entire month of July, along with the third Sunday of the month, recognizes ice cream as a fun and nutritious food, one in which 90 percent of Americans indulge.The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart

This Ice Cream Day, you could be the most popular person in your neighborhood with The Genuine Good Humor Ice Cream Cart. This is the genuine cart that was first produced for the Good Humor Company over 75 years ago. Four brass bells hang from the handlebar, an iconic feature that attracted children by the dozens to street corners in America’s growing suburbs following World War II.

For those looking for a low-fat, healthy treat, The Frozen Fruit Soft Serve Processor instantly turns frozen fruit and other flavorings into a soft-serve confection. The unit combines frozen bananas and any additional fruit or chocolate and instantly churns the ingredients to produce a treat with the silky-smooth texture of frozen yogurt or soft-serve ice cream, but without the additional fat, sugar, or preservatives. It makes a great and unique gift for lactose-intolerant friends or family.

Because summer is a great time to celebrate frozen treats of all kinds, The Classic Snow Cone Cart will remind you of the type found at beaches, parks, and zoos. Three dispensers The Classic Snow Cone Makerlet guests apply the flavored syrup in grand Sno-Kone tradition. You may want to pair your Sno-Kone cart with The Best Portable Ice Maker. This portable appliance earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice.

So, if you’re feeling warm on this summer day, cool off with a delicious serving of ice cream, sherbet, gelato, sorbet, water ice, soft serve, snow cone, or frozen yogurt. Whichever you choose, it’s sure to be refreshing!

Enjoy July Sun with Fun on a Bun

As July scorches, the nation marks National Hot Dog Month. From New York’s garlicky kosher dogs to Chicago-style red hots, it’s time to celebrate encased meat on a bun.

The more seriously you take your wurst selection, the more memorable your dining will be. Source your wieners from your local corner butcher shop where they take pride in making tubular charcouterie designed to impress your guests.

For the hot dog connoisseur who insists on keeping it real, The Authentic New York Hot Dog Vendor CartThe Authentic New York Hot Dog Cart is identical to those found on the streets and in the parks of New York City today. Three steamer trays each hold up to 20 hot dogs or sausages. Don’t use skinless dogs in a hot water cart as they will blow up like zeppelins and lose their flavor. Natural sheep casing dogs are the gourmet choice and hold up for hours in a cart.

Skinless dogs please kids and are best griddled or grilled. They also make a great choice for campfire cooking. The Campfire Roasting Rod enables campers to roast hot dogs and toast The Campfire Roasting Rodmarshmallows with a unique design that is held like a fishing pole. Gently jigging the pole upwards—just like setting the hook while fishing—flips the roasting spits over for even cooking.

Summer is fleeting, so this weekend leave the T-bones in the freezer in favor of something more tubular…get some New York garlic dogs, spicy Hungarian brats, Maxwell Street polish or foot-long wieners and have some good fun in a bun!

Turning Boredom into Action

Ennui. Lethargy. Tedium. However you label it, it’s all boredom.

Throughout July, the U.S. celebrates National Anti-boredom Month, and a chance to cure the call of “There’s nothing to do!” forever. We’re all for putting a bit of extra excitement into your life, and we can offer several ideas to banish boredom for people of all ages.The Backyard Zip Line Kit

The Seated Backyard Zipline Kit allows riders to swoop up to 90 feet through the air while remaining close to the ground. The system simply wraps around two trees at an incline and riders zip from one end to the other, similar to ziplines found at luxury ski resorts and adventure camps. It’s a unique gift for kids or grandkids, that helps make playing outdoors better than any video game.

You and a friend can tool around town on The Only Electric Bicycle Built for Electric Tandem BicycleTwo. The only one of its kind, this tandem electric bicycle assists riders up to 20 mph in relaxed comfort, up hills or across broad flats. Its step-through design provides easy mounting and dismounting for both riders.

For boredom that can only be cured with speed, The World’s Fastest Amphibious Car blasts over water at 44 mph and reaches 80 mph on the road. Powered by a 300-hp Honda engine, it operates like a regular vehicle on land with a four-speed manual transmission. Amphibious CarWhen it’s time to enter the water, the wheels rise above the bottom of the hull and the engine’s power is redirected to a Panther pump jet.

Time with friends is a sure cure for boredom, along with a bit of liquid social lubrication. The Aquatic Bar seats four around an integrated cooler, facilitating the unique gift of dazzling conversation. Four inflatable chairs let sitters’ legs dangle in the cooling water.

So turn the dog days of summer to the doing days of summer and your friends The Aquatic Barand family will jump up with joyful cries when they see these unique gifts perfect for Anti-boredom Month.

Plotting Playtime with Plush Pals

Set round a table with gingham and lace,
It’s a tea party for soft friends; come take your place.

A six-foot Teddy, Chewie, Darth and more.
Don’t forget Sharkey, he swims on the floor.

There’s room at the table for all our plush friends,
Even a dragon and pony to play pretend.

Sharkey said enough small talk, let’s plan adventures at sea.
We sipped and plotted and planned our trip
To take all the plushies on a playhouse pirate ship!

 

sharkToday is National Plush Animal Lovers’ Day and we have several tea-party-ready soft friends for a special child in your life…or even yourself!

See our selection of huggable plush animals. Unique and especially appealing is our Plush Star Wars Collection, featuring The Talking Plush Yoda, The Talking Plush Darth Vader and the Mini Talking Chewie.

All of our plush friends are ready to be loved and they’re all ready for adventure, to sail away in The Pirate Ship Playhouse!

Choosing The Perfect Christmas Tree

When leaves fall, temperatures drop, and daylight hours diminish, you know the holiday season won’t be far behind. That means it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas tree.

The first factor to consider is live or artificial. While some purists insist on a live tree, there are several reasons you’ll want to consider our World’s Best Christmas Trees, besides their lifelike realism:

branch

It’s economical—the investment in a well-made artificial tree means you will have your decoration for many years to come, saving the costs of buying live trees year after year.

It’s green—natural resources go into the growing of trees, not to mention pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Fossil fuels are burned shipping trees around the country and again after the holiday when they need to be hauled away and processed into mulch. And many people simply prefer not to cut down a living tree every year for the short holiday season.

Lower maintenance—an artificial tree doesn’t need to be watered and it doesn’t leave behind a mess of dry needles when it’s taken down.

Allergies—an artificial tree is less likely to bother allergies, while a live tree can release pollen and mold into the home.

Once you’ve decided which type of tree you want, there are several other factors to consider:

Size—Decide where you’re going to place your tree. The space you have will dictate the tree height and width you need to choose. When measuring the height you need, be sure to factor in the height of your tree stand and the decoration that will be placed atop the tree. Allow approximately a foot between the top of the decoration and the ceiling for a height that is most pleasing to the eye. Different widths are also available in many styles to suit your living space or your preference.

christmas-tree

Type—Even artificial trees come in many different varieties. Hammacher offers meticulous reproductions of Fraser, Noble, Balsam, and Douglas firs, as well as Spruces and Scots Pines. Trees with shorter needles, such as Fraser and Douglas firs, can be easier to decorate, especially if you want to hang a lot of ornaments.

Pre-lit—Choosing a tree pre-strung with LED or incandescent lights means no struggling with tangled wires. LEDs are the most energy-efficient, while incandescent bulbs provide a more traditional glow. Either way, the pre-lit trees we offer will always shine on, even if one bulb breaks or burns out, backed by our Lifetime Guarantee of Complete Satisfaction.

You can view our complete Christmas tree selection online and find your perfect tree easily by sorting the results by branch and bulb type, tree height and width, and price.