Hope Springs Eternal on Opening Day

11876_1000x1000Few other annual events are filled with as much fresh hope and promise as the start of a new baseball season. On Opening Day, every team has a clean slate and its fans have heady aspirations that this will be the year their boys go all the way.

Opening Day is a state of mind, and indeed retired shortstop Ozzie Smith this year started an online petition on wethepeople.com to urge the U.S. Government to declare the day a national holiday. If Opening Day does become a holiday, it may create another opportunity to shower friends and family with unique gifts.

For the New York Yankees fan, the ultimate unique gift may be a genuine piece of the House that Ruth Built. The Authentic Yankee Stadium Seats were removed from the stadium before it was razed, the very stadium where fans watched Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Derek Jeter and other iconic Bronx Bombers capture six World Series titles. The seats are available as pairs mounted to stand upright or as barstools, including a stool with 39 certified autographs.

The hardcore Yankee fan may also appreciate The Museum Quality 1/8 Scale 1961 Yankee Stadium. Meticulously researched, hand-built and hand-painted by artist Steve Wolf, whose stadium models are displayed in the Los Angeles Sports Museum, this amazing replica took nearly 3,000 hours to complete. This model faithfully replicates the stadium from more than 50 years ago, including period advertisements, six working light banks, and ticket windows.

Many a baseball fan has a bucket-list item to visit all the Major League ballparks. The Personalized Baseball Ballpark Map charts the stadiums you’ve visited and those you plan on seeing. The map lists all 59 ballparks that have hosted Major League Baseball teams since 1912. Color-coded pins and flags mark stadiums you’ve visited, your most recent conquest, your next destination, and your favorite stadium.

As the storied Joe DiMaggio said about the start of the season, “You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” And for those fans who know better, just wait till next year.

Channeling The Champion Swimmers Of Yore

Athletic training has come a long way since the early 20th century. Considering advances in conditioning, nutrition and psychological strategies, the feats of athletes nearly 100 years ago are all that more amazing.

When gertrude-ederleGertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel on this day in 1926, she completed an extraordinary achievement many “experts” claimed no female could do. What’s more, she did it faster than any male swimmer of the time.

Ederle, known to her friends and family as Trudy, stepped ashore on the English coast 14 hours, 31 minutes after beginning her swim from Cape Gris-Nez, France, smashing the previous record of 16 hours, 33 minutes. More than 2 million people lined the streets of New York City to greet Trudy with a ticker-tape parade when she returned to the U.S. In 1924, Trudy went on to medal in three events at the Olympic Games in Paris.

As amazing as her record time was in its day, in 2006 her time was sliced nearly in half by the current women’s world record holder. Yvetta Hlavacova of the Czech Republic who swam the Channel in 7 hours, 25 minutes.

Needless to say, consistent and frequent training is a key factor in athletic performance. While we can’t promise Olympic medals, The Swimmer’s Treadmill is the swimming pool that allows you to practice laps in a space no larger than an SUV. The pool sets up in garages, backyards, basements, or rec rooms. It uses a harness that wraps around a swimmer’s waist and a flexible elastic tether that suspends swimmers in the water, providing varying resistance–stronger strokes and kicks yield more resistance.

The swimmer’s comfort is also important to getting the most out of a training session. The Photochromatic Swimphotochromic-swim-goggles Goggles have tinted lenses that automatically brighten or darken in response to changing lighting conditions. The photochromatic lenses, common in sunglasses but unique in swim goggles, quickly darken in bright sunlight or harsh fluorescents but lighten in dimmer conditions or when the sun hides behind a cloud.

Some of us may prefer to be on the water than in the water. The English Channel Pedal Boat is the water craft that set a Guinness World Record for the fastest pedal-powered crossing of the English Channel. Possessing superior nautical qualities that enabled navigation through the Channel’s notoriously inhospitable waters, its ballasted keel provides superior stability in windy conditions for up to three passengers.

Or perhaps you’re one to sit poolside with a good book. For you, we have The Turkish Cotton Chaise Lounge Cover. This is the lounge cover made of the same superior cotton as the renowned Hammacher Schlemmer Turkish robe. Imported from Turkey’s Denizli region, a global textile center renowned for producing cotton with exceptionally long-staple fibers, the terry fabric is uncommonly soft, plush, and readily absorbs moisture. The cover provides a sumptuous resting place, while you watch the would-be record-breakers wear themselves out in the pool.

The Water Skiing Innovator Awash With Success

Skier-Controlled-BoatFor many of us, summer memories start with a lake. For some, those memories include skimming along the surface of said lake on water skies.

In 1922, a Lake City, MN, teenager named Ralph Samuelson wondered if skis could glide across water the way they do on snow. He experimented with a number of designs before finding the one that worked. Using two 8′x9″ pine boards from a lumberyard, Ralph steamed the front tips of the planks in his mother’s copper kettle so that the ends could be curved upward, keeping the skier from pitching face-first into the lake. He met with success and a sport was born!

Ralph had assistance perfecting this new sport from his brother, Ben, who drove the boat and helped his sibling practice for hours on end. It may be said that you can’t have a good water skier without a good boat driver, but we’ve found another way. The Skier Controlled Tow Boat is the unmanned water skiing boat that’s controlled entirely by the skier. A six-button control panel on the tow rope handle sends signals to the boat, allowing skiers to start, accelerate, decelerate, turn, or stop the vessel with slight thumb movements. The nearly 8′-long boat achieves speeds up to 40 MPH, creating wakes for jumps and other tricks.

Samuelson attracted his share of attention locally, performing at summer weekend water carnivals, but he never pursued patenting or otherwise publicizing his invention.  A few years later, Fred Waller of Huntington, NY, developed Dolphin Akwa-Skees and got the credit and the commercial success for the invention.

In 1966, the American Water Ski Association recognized Samuelson as the world’s first water skier and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in Winter Garden, FL, in 1977. By that time, of course, the sport had evolved to a popular show feature at warm-weather venues like Cypress Gardens in Florida and Tommy Bartlett’s Thrill Show in Wisconsin.

Have you always wanted to try a little water skiing, but you’re not sure if you have the balance and upper body strength to do so? The Waterskiing Chair is the patented chair that is mounted to a pair of water skis, allowing beginners and experts alike to ski from a stable seated position. Introduced almost 50 years ago, the chair consists of a backless seat connected to broad, widely-spaced skis by a pivoting steering mechanism. Leaning to one side in the chair automatically causes the skis to carve the water in the same direction. The chair only requires riders to hold a tow rope and maintains its balance even when crossing a boat’s wake.

However you create this summer’s memories, the season soon will be coming to a close, so be sure to get on the lake this weekend!

Innovative transportation that hovers, flies, dives, drives, and more

When we first told you about the Golf Cart Hovercraft, little did we know it would make such a splash!The Golf Cart Hovercraft.

Actually, it doesn’t make a splash, and that’s no small part of the appeal…The Golf Cart Hovercraft can glide right over water hazards, literally floating on a cushion of air. It passes

over sensitive greens 9″ above the ground, without damaging a blade of grass. In a sand trap, it powers you right up to your ball with its 65-hp twin-cylinder Hirth engine and nine-blade axial-flow ducted fan.

Response to the cart has been amazing, but it is far from the first time we’ve embraced innovative modes of transportation. Indeed, it isn’t even our first hovercraft; in 1994,

The Flying Hovercraft.The four-Person Hovercraft made an appearance in our catalog, and we offer The Two Person 60 MPH Hovercraft and The Flying Hovercraft today.

Back on the ground, our history with the automobile dates to 1902, when there were fewer than 600 cars in New York City and no gas stations. That year, we introduced the first Auto Parts Department, selling parts and tools for the “horseless carriage” including a Motorist Touring Kit, which allowed drivers to fix a flat or blown gasket.

As the automobile came into more widespread use, we purchased our own auto to begin home-delivery parcel service—a novel idea in its day.

More than a century later, we’re still leading the way in ways to get around. Electric cars are now turning up in garages nationwide, but we put some acceleration behind the concept back in 2006 with The 120 MPH Electric Car. This vehicle accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds to a top speed of 120 mph in one gear with no shifting.  Its two electric motors—smaller versions of the same kind found in diesel-electric locomotives—combine to produce over 1,000 foot-pounds (lbf) of torque.

In 2009, we helped TV personality Boaz Frankel kick off his 70-day Un-Road Trip with our 13 mph cooler. But if you’d rather take your friends and your beverages with you, take a look at The Pedal Pub. This is the vehicle that accommodates up to 17 people who pedal, serve, drive, and imbibe as it travels.

Here’s something truly unique: The Motorized Monocycle. Drawing upon a robust history of development that began with an original design conceived in Marseilles, France in 1869, this is the motorized monocycle made in the Netherlands that propels a single rider up to 25 mph. The ingenious device is steered by leaning to one side or the other, and it can safely negotiate any dense surface such as pavement or grass.

The Killer Whale Submarine.

And if you’re really looking to get double-takes from beachgoers, may we suggest The Killer Whale Submarine. This is the streamlined, two-person watercraft that breaches and submerges just like the Orcinus orca after which it is designed. It jumps up to 16 feet and can hydroplane up to 50 mph over the water’s surface or cruise up to 25 mph while submerged.

The Golf Cart Hovercraft: the Envy of Professional Golfers

Watching the U.SGolf-Cart-Hovercraft. Open can make the casual duffer a little jealous of professional golfers. They play on the best courses. They use the best equipment. Adoring fans cheer their every swing and putt. They earn millions for just playing golf, and even more through sponsorship deals. The only downside: The pros must walk the course—golf carts are forbidden at PGA tournaments. Thankfully, those of us in the amateur ranks have no such restriction. But why limit yourself to common carts that roll on wheels? The Golf Cart Hovercraft lets you one-up the pros while assuring your popularity with your foursome. Inspired by the Thinkmodo-designed prototype driven by 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson in the “Bubba’s Hover” viral video for Oakley, this golf cart glides over hazards on a cushion of air as easily as it does over fairways and the rough. Powered by a 65-hp twin-cylinder Hirth engine, its nine-blade axial-flow ducted fan propels the craft up to 45 mph and 9″ off the ground without harming grass, allowing immediate crossing of a pond or stream to follow-up a cross-water shot. The fan’s streamlined design minimizes noise while conveying four passengers beneath a lift-up roof and two golf bags in an open rear compartment. Motorcycle-style handlebars steer the craft while a patented fly-by-wire reverse thrust system provides braking and backwards hovering up to 25 mph—the only hovercraft in the world to do so. (An especially useful feature should a wayward drive ricochet off a tree.) The Golf Cart Hovercraft sells for $58,000 and is now available on the Hammacher website.

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.