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!

Sway Away Hammock Day in Comfort and Style

Petiole-HammockDuring these hottest days of summer, ambition doesn’t come for anything more strenuous than lazing away the afternoon, stretched out on a hammock.

It’s certainly no coincidence that every year, July 22 marks National Hammock Day. Are you prepared?

The modern-day hammock comes from a design originated by the Taino culture, Native Americans who inhabited the northern West Indies, especially the islands that today are Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. By suspending their beds above the ground, inhabitants were better able to avoid fungal infections, as well as snakes, scorpions, and other biting insects.

By the late 1500s, the hammock had been adopted for use on naval ships, particularly by sailors sleeping on gun decks where limited space prevented the installation of bunks. The hammocks also swayed right along with the motion of the ship, providing better comfort and safety in rough seas.

Today, we depend on the hammock for nothing more than sheer relaxation. If you don’t have the most basic of ingredients to celebrate National Hammock Day, take a look at The Pawleys Island Hammock. This is the sturdiest, most durable and well-made hammock available. It is handcrafted on Pawleys Island, South Carolina—the ancestral home of Captain Joshua Ward who designed the original in the late 1880s. Unlike ordinary hammocks, it is handwoven instead of knotted, using the highest grade, soft cotton twill rope. It contains twice as much rope as most comparable models. Ropes and chains for hanging are included, or you can mount your hammock with the stand and wheel kit.

Although this style of hammock has been around for hundreds of years, there is always a quest to improve on any classic design. We believe we have found the next thing in hammock design with The Petiole Hammock. Recipient of Les Découvertes award for innovation at the prestigious Maison & Objet design show, this is the handmade, self-suspended hammock. The culmination of 20 years of research and design, the hammock is made in Sweden by two artisans who painstakingly mold each piece during a process that requires four weeks to craft one hammock. White glove delivery of this very special item includes installation.

So mix up a pitcher of lemonade, grab your favorite snack and head to the back yard where you can enjoy the too-short summer as it’s meant to be: gently swaying in your own comfortable hammock.

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.

Swedish Hand Plow

The Swedish Hand Plow is the shovel used by the Swedish Roof Clearers Union to remove large amounts of snow in one fell swoop.

Swedish Hand PlowThe term “heart attack snow” is no laughing matter. Wet, heavy snow with high water content might make better snowballs, but it is much more strenuous to remove by hand. Bending and scooping this heavy snow can quickly lead to over-exertion, not to mention strained backs and leg muscles. The Swedish Hand Plow, with its 3-foot wide blade and u-shaped handle, allows for clearing driveways and sidewalks by pushing snow away, rather than needing to lift and throw the snow to the side. The bottom edge of the blade is 22 times thicker than typical shovels, so it skims easily across multiple surfaces like deck wood, brick pavers, and sidewalk seams. The shock-absorbing rubber handgrip helps save wear and tear on the hands, and the corrosion-resistant aluminum throughout fights off the winter weather.

We know you want to get out there as soon as the skies clear and have the first clean driveway on the block. But be sure you do so safely, for your heart and your back. Push snow out of your way with The Swedish Hand Plow, exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer.

The Swedish Hand Plow

Her Majesty’s Umbrella

Protect yourself from the Fall rains in Royal style with Her Majesty’s Umbrella from Hammacher Schlemmer.

This is the umbrella favored by Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II when she ventures outdoors in public during inclement weather. Supplied to the royal household by Fulton Company Limited, holder of a Royal Warrant to The Queen (and previous holder of the Queen Mother’s Warrant), the clear dome canopy provides ample coverage for the head and shoulders while allowing onlookers to recognize its holder, and vice versa. The umbrella’s rugged 0.1mm PVC canopy sheds water and resists tearing, and its fiberglass ribs are strong yet flexible to withstand gusty breezes. Thanks to a patented mechanism that dispenses with troublesome, spring-loaded systems used by common models, the umbrella’s runner glides up and down its sturdy, tubular pole with minimal effort, providing easy opening and closing. With regal black trim and crook handle.