Category Archives: The Unexpected

Bug Off! Unique Gifts Keep Insects at Bay

West Nile virus…Zika virus…yellow fever. Virtually every day, news reports relay more potential dangers from mosquito bites.

Even if these viruses are not yet prevalent in your area, there’s no denying a mosquito bite causes unnecessary discomfort. The same goes for bites from spiders and flies and stings from bees, wasps and yellow jackets. Yet, there are simple, chemical-free ways to protect your family. We have several unique gift ideas to keep insects at bay both inside and outside your home.81846_1000x1000

This chemical-free trap attracts and kills mosquitoes in yards up to one acre. The trap mimics the natural conditions of human habitation by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide and light to lure mosquitoes. Carbon dioxide is generated when ultraviolet rays from two fluorescent bulbs react with a titanium dioxide coating inside the trap. When mosquitoes are drawn inside the device, a built-in fan traps the insects and sends them to a removable net where they die of dehydration.84925_1000x1000

This completely portable enclosure slides over a patio table’s umbrella to provide a protective canopy. Eliminating the need for sprays or candles, its sturdy polyester netting is too small for pests to penetrate. It fits over umbrellas up to 9′ in diameter, extending all the way to the ground or deck floor. The bottom’s entire perimeter stays in place even in the breeze using an integrated PVC ring that can be filled with water. A zippered flap provides easy entry and exit.86575_1000x1000

Should a pesky bug find its way inside your home, here’s the handheld cordless bug vacuum that earned The Best rating from The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it captured the most bugs in the shortest time and was easiest to handle. Its powerful motor generates more airflow than lesser vacuums to draw flies, bees, spiders and other insects into its telescoping tinted nozzle that lets you capture stationary bugs from arm’s length.

We have many other unique gifts designed to keep mosquitos and other insects away from you and your family. Visit our online Mosquito Protection Center today for ideas.

Setting the Path for Jet-Setting Travel

Sixty-seven years ago tomorrow, the world’s first passenger jet airliner, the British De Havilland Comet, made its premiere test flight in the U.K. The jet engine was a game-changing unique gift for the airline industry, reducing by half the time it took to fly.12628_1000x1000

You can learn more about this and other great moments in the history of flight in this personalized book of New York Times articles focusing on aviation through the years. Procured from the archives of The Times, the book presents highlights spanning from the Wright Brothers’ first flight to Charles Lindbergh’s Transatlantic crossing and Amelia Earhart’s mysterious disappearance. The bound book displays the recipient’s name and “The New York Times History of Aviation” stamped in gold on the cover.11803_1000x1000

Ready to make your own aviation history but can’t quite get off the ground? This amazingly realistic flight simulator is installed into a cockpit that equips players with the same flight controls found in actual aircraft. Fore/aft and left/right movement of the yoke controls pitch and roll just like real airplanes; toggles and buttons provide authentic control of navigation and radio options. The software features realistic graphics and includes 80 flyable aircraft ranging from the ubiquitous Mooney Acclaim to the daunting Boeing 747-800.82741_1000x1000

Complete the experience with these aviators’ sunglasses, just like those worn by U.S. Army AH-64 Apache Helicopter pilots. Made by a supplier to the U.S. military for more than 30 years, the sunglasses feature the iconic aviator shape and a non-corroding nickel silver frame. The scratch- and impact-resistant lenses are made from the same distortion-free glass used on watch faces, with a grey tint providing the truest colors.

That prototype Comet jet was designed to carry 36 passengers at speeds up to 500 mph. Although the original design was plagued by catastrophic flaws, aviation historians agree that De Havilland’s Comet left the unique gifts of a legacy that changed the way we travel today.

Unique Gifts that Make a Splash

With summer in its prime, you may be whiling away many hours at the pool. We can’t think of many better ways to appreciate a lazy summer afternoon.88422_1000x1000

But for some, boredom may be setting in. If you’re looking for some new ideas for pooltime, here are a few unique gifts to get you in the swim of things.

In-pool socializing takes on a shady nature with this floating 7 ft. umbrella. Five built-in cupholders keep both bathers and beverages out of the sun, while encouraging shaded socialization. The umbrella is supported by a 6 lb. counterweight at its bottom so it stays in an upright position in both breezes and waves87339_1000x1000.

For some quiet “me time”, this unique floating hammock supports your head and feet, while your core remains pleasantly in the cool water. Available exclusively from Hammacher Schlemmer, this hammock’s unique design offers a blend of support and buoyancy that mimics the feeling of swaying in a favorite hammock, while giving you the unique gift of floating in soothing water.12425_1000x1000

When you want to simply sit poolside, this motorized entertainment lounger has built-in misters, speakers, and a USB charging port, all powered by the sun. A control pad on the left armrest provides push-button operation of the backrest’s reclining position. The integrated Bose speakers sync wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device to provide the music. While this lounger can’t make you another frozen margarita, it can keep you just as cool by emitting a refreshing mist.

So get ready to make a splash…much of the U.S. is predicted to hit the 90s in the coming weeks, but you’ll have your fun in the sun when you keep cool at the pool.

Revving Up Interest in Collectible Cars

Driving around today, you may have noticed an unusual number of restored vintage or reproduction vehicles on the road. That’s because today is National Collector Car Appreciation Day.

This annual event was launched six years ago to celebrate the classics of both the past and the future. The automobile has been a unique gift to American history, and no other country appreciates the car as thoroughly as does the U.S.

Whether you are a serious car collector or you merely dream about the day you’re able to give yourself the unique gift of an extraordinary automobile, here are some truly unusual models to inspire you.12197_1000x1000

No car will attract more attention than this officially licensed, roadworthy replica of the Batmobile. Built on a custom Lincoln chassis, the crime-fighting cruiser comes standard with a 430-horsepower, 383 Blueprint Crate engine and a Monster TH350 automatic transmission. The vehicle’s cockpit honors the gadgetry of the TV series with a blinking Batphone, switch-operated electric actuators that open the hood and trunk, and a rotating red beacon. A rear-facing propane tank creates the same afterburner effect as the original. The exterior bears the hallmarks of its namesake, from bubble-canopy windshields to chrome “rocket” tubes behind the rear windshield.12796A_1000x1000

This 1:2 scale gas-powered version of the iconic Jaguar XK120 unleashes adults to careen and cruise as if driving the real thing. Faithful to the details of the 1948 original—sweeping rounded fenders, long hood and tapered grille—this version seats its driver within a padded leather aircraft-style cockpit. The interior includes a wood-rimmed aluminum steering wheel and dashboard, while the exterior can be finished in any color, including the classic glossy British Racing Green of yesteryear.12350_1000x1000

If you have a bigger crew to haul around, this authentic London Hackney cab holds six passengers plus the driver. This version is a fully restored and overhauled Fairway taxi from the 1980s. Designed with a high degree of English sensibility, it provides the roominess and appointments of a limo in a smaller size. Of course, it’s updated with modern convenience, luxury, and U.S. safety standards. With its 2.7-liter Nissan diesel engine, it delivers dutiful performance while turning heads.

Many communities show appreciation for collectible cars throughout the warm weather months with rallies, cruise nights, and car shows. Even if you don’t have fancy wheels of your own to show off, you might enjoy attending a local car show to scope out that unique gift for yourself, for when the time is right.

You Have Your Reasons to Splurge – and We’re Here to Enable!

It’s time to plan a big splurge, that “someday” purchase you’ve been planning. This Saturday is National Splurge Day and Hammacher Schlemmer’s unique gifts are perfect for the occasion.

It could be something for yourself. Or, perhaps you plan to reward your finest, most industrious associates who have always been there for you: partners and craftspeople who help you beyond measure and compensation. We are here to be the enabler, searching the world to find the most amazing unique gifts that make others green with envy.12820A_1000x1000

This one-of-a-kind digital grand piano derives its sleek design from the graceful yet powerful form of the Orcinus orca. Handmade in the U.K. to suit individual preference, each instrument is crafted using components from Kluge and Renner, providers of the world’s best piano mechanics. The 88 Ivoplast and ebony keys provide the same balanced hammer action as a concert grand, while beneath its dorsal fin-like lid, a 500-tone Roland audio processor suffuses each note with realistic acoustic character and nuance. This is a splurge worthy of the world’s greatest pianists.12796D_1000x1000

Maybe your splurging daydreams lean toward a vintage sports car replica. This 1:2 scale gas-powered version of the iconic Jaguar XK120 unleashes adults to careen and cruise as if driving the real thing. Faithful to the details of the 1948 original—sweeping rounded fenders, long hood and tapered grille—this version seats its driver within a padded leather aircraft-style cockpit. The interior includes a wood-rimmed aluminum steering wheel and dashboard, while the exterior can be finished in any color, including the classic glossy British Racing Green of yesteryear.11726_1000x1000

Here’s a splurge that makes a splash – literally. This two-person submarine can descend to a depth of 1,000 feet. Providing access to underwater features such as coral reefs, shipwrecks and the ocean floor, a completely transparent, climate-controlled acrylic pressure sphere keeps explorers safe while dipping even into the mesopelagic zone, offering a chance to see exotic, bioluminescent species. With a maximum speed of three knots, it provides up to six hours of continuous undersea adventure.

Splurging is all relative and unique to each individual. If your dreams of a splurge revolve around an extra hour of sleep or a decadent dessert, that’s a good thing, too. But if you’re ready for that one big unique gift to yourself, we’re always here to help.

Ready Your Home for Spring

When sun streams through your windows at angles it hasn’t since last summer, you’re likely to spot dust and grime you didn’t see during the dreary days of winter. That can only mean it’s time for a good spring cleaning.

Getting a checklist together is half the battle of getting motivated. Here are a few tips to help jump-start the project and you’ll soon be enjoying the unique gifts of a sparkling-clean home.

Clean out the fridge. Toss anything expired, as well as sauces and dressing you’ll never use again. Wash each shelf with a mixture of two tablespoons baking soda to one quart of warm water. Don’t forget to clean out the vegetable crisper…you don’t want it to become a vegetable rotter! Vacuum dust off the coil behind the fridge to keep it operating efficiently.84816_1000x1000

Rent a steam cleaner (or hire a service) to deep-clean your carpeting. Then, throughout the year, plan frequent vacuumings to minimize the amount of accumulating dirt and dust. Hate to vacuum? We recommend this Superior Suction Roomba 880 to let it do the work for you. It forgoes typical brushes and instead uses two rubber rollers rotating in opposite directions to pick up more debris while it moves methodically from room to room. It can even be programmed to automatically clean seven days a week.84538_1000x1000

Tackle “hidden” dust. Don’t forget corners, dusty baseboards and those bits of cereal that find their way under kitchen cabinets. The Best Cordless Hand Vac was rated the most effective by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because of its cleaning power, convenient features and ergonomic design. Its hygienic one-button system empties waste directly into the garbage.87109_1000x1000

Get windows sparkling clean to maximize the unique gift of nature’s light. This Vacuuming Squeegee efficiently cleans windows and flat surfaces without drips. The included spray bottle accepts your preferred cleaning solution for wetting the glass. A press of a button starts its powerful motor to vacuum the dirty solution into the reservoir at a quiet operating volume.

Finally, have you changed your furnace filter recently? The filter should be replaced at least every 90 days, and it’s important to maintain a clean filter if you have central air conditioning. This helps your AC cool more efficiently and will cut down on dust in your home, too.

Squeezing Every Inch of Storage from a Tiny Home

Small-space living is more than a trend perpetuated by home-and-garden TV shows. For many residents of New York City, San Francisco, and other expensive urban areas, it’s a necessary way of life.

But, there’s a fine line between cozy and crazy. Fortunately, we have a few ideas to help you enjoy the unique gifts of downtown living, gain storage space, and still indulge in some of life’s little luxuries.86398_1000x1000

This slim-profile side table boasts hidden storage that keeps clutter at bay, while keeping indispensable items close at hand. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, the table has a hinged lift-up compartment at one end and a sliding lid on the other end to conveniently provide space to hide remote controls, eyeglasses, pens, coasters, and other small items. Below, a shelf holds books, magazines, or knick-knacks. The table’s slim design easily nestles between two chairs or in a tight entryway.88290_1000x1000

In a space-challenged bathroom, this cabinet’s narrow footprint and large capacity adds welcome organization and storage. Another Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, it’s only 9” wide, so it can slide beside a toilet or tub or next to a pedestal sink. Five separate compartments hold everything from a plunger to bath tissue, medications, cosmetics, 86670_1000x1000 and toiletries.

Living space in the city is expensive, but so are coffee-shop lattes and cappuccinos. Break up with your barista with this Italian espresso machine that takes up only 6″ of precious kitchen counter space. This slim machine sheds the bulk of similar models, yet brews professional-quality drinks using a 15-bar manual pump system to extract maximum flavor from the beans. It dispenses a single or double shot in only 40 seconds, while the built-in steam wand froths milk to a rich, creamy consistency. Not only a space-saver, this machine is the ideal unique gift for a coffee lover.

Small-space living helps one live contently with fewer possessions. You won’t waste time playing custodian to your stuff and you’ll appreciate experiences over things. Just stay organized and you won’t be made claustrophobic by clutter.

A Day in History that Deserves a Toast

Eighty-three years ago tomorrow, thirsty Americans lined up around the block. At the stroke of midnight, they’d be able to have a legal drink of alcohol for the first time since 1920; thus, April 6, 1933, became known as “New Beers Eve”. It was a unique gift to parched citizens everywhere.

In the decades since, we’ve progressed from the 3.2% beer mandated by Prohibition’s repeal to full-bodied craft beers that are culinary creations in their own right. Most recently, craft distilleries have emerged on the scene, with small-batch gins and locally produced artisanal whiskeys delighting imbibers nationwide.87326_1000x1000

We’d like to raise a toast to New Beers Eve with these glasses, designed specifically for tasting whiskey. The glasses have a thick, sturdy base to complement the liquor’s depth, thin sides to allow you to appreciate the liquid’s color and a tapered mouth to accentuate aromas. Recognized as the best glasses for tasting, they are used by every whiskey company in Ireland and Scotland for sampling their product.12157_1000x1000

Craft breweries have sprung up like weeds in recent years and many came from home brewers whose hobby, shall we say, got a little out of hand. If you’re a homebrewer no longer able to satisfy the ale cravings of friends and family merely with unique gifts of a few occasional bottles of unlabeled brew, it may be time to invest in this professional-quality microbrewing system, scaled for the home brewmaster. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, its 14-gallon fermenter could have you producing a batch in time for your own Maibock Fest.12225_1000x1000

If nothing else, the repeal of Prohibition brought responsible enjoyment of alcohol from behind closed doors and reintroduced it as a social activity. And we can’t think of a more fun and social way to responsibly enjoy a drink than The Pedal Pub. This human-powered vehicle accommodates 17 people who pedal, serve, drive and imbibe as it travels. With 10 pedaling passengers, the vehicle can hit 5 mph on flat terrain, but the real fun is in the party as you pedal.

Upon signing the legislation ending Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” And if you’ll excuse us now, we couldn’t agree more.

America’s Pastime Gets in Full Swing

The boys of summer take the field Sunday as the 2016 Major League Baseball season gets underway. This weekend’s feature game will be a World Series rematch between the New York Mets and the world champion Kansas City Royals.12433_1000x1000

In these days of constant screen time and never-out-of-touch connectedness, baseball remains steeped in nostalgia, decades-old stats, and old-fashioned tradition. You may even know someone who can recite years of baseball trivia from pure memory. A fitting and unique gift for a dedicated fan like that might be this personalized archive from The New York Times. This book brings together articles chronicling the exploits of a fan’s favorite MLB team, including articles spanning from the team’s formative years to today. The bound book even displays the recipient’s name stamped in gold on the cover.12355_1000x1000

As baseball season gets underway, imagine enjoying each televised game seated in this larger-than-life baseball glove chair, upholstered entirely in the same “Heart of the Hide” leather used to make a pro player’s glove. Each chair is built to order and is assembled by master craftsmen in Rawlings’ St. Louis facility, the same place authentic baseball mitts are made.86222_1000x1000

Among the treasured traditions of baseball is bringing up the next generation of fans, giving them the unique gift of appreciation for all the game’s nuances. Perhaps for this reason, youth baseball remains one of the most popular sports for kids. You can help an aspiring slugger hone hitting skills with this Batter Controlled Pitching Machine. The batter operates the machine from the bat’s wireless transmitter to practice hitting a plastic ball. The transmitter signals the machine to throw a ball, giving the young batter control over timing of the pitches. The machine can also be set to automatic mode, pitching a ball every eight seconds.

As the 2016 season gets underway, hope springs eternal. Odds makers are putting the Chicago Cubs as this year’s team to beat—will the Cubbies end their championship drought dating back to 1908? In April, anything and everything is possible. And if not, just wait till next year.

Tell Foot Pain to Take a Hike

Walking is heralded by physicians and physiologists alike as one of the best forms of exercise anyone can do. Tomorrow is Take a Walk in the Park Day, so it’s a perfect time to get outdoors for a long stroll and enjoy the unique gifts of a spring day.

Walking is great exercise for your heart. It tones your muscles, elevates your mood, and is at the same time both relaxing and reenergizing. Unfortunately, some people find walking for pleasure to be too painful for enjoyment because of plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, arthritis, or other afflictions of the foot. These folks may find massage and other drug-free methods ease the discomfort enough to engage in a pleasurable walk. We have some suggestions that could offer sweet relief.86728_1000x1000

The Hydrotherapy Roller Masseuse is an at-home spa tub that pampers sore feet, as well as calves, with a relaxing reflexology massage. Warm water jets soothe each foot, while textured rollers apply gentle pressure to the soles and heels. Even for those unaffected by foot conditions, the soothing action of this device makes it an ideal unique gift for just about anyone.87728_1000x1000

With gentle, integrated massagers, these pampering slippers help ease aching feet and will keep them warm, too. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the slippers have a slim massaging device tucked within each contoured footbed. At the end of a long day, the massaging action helps melt pain away, while also promoting good circulation.

Here’s a breakthrough technology initially developed by NASA to treat astronauts’ injuries. The method uses LEDs to deliver infrared heat deep into tissue, reducing inflammation by up to 37%. This foot pain 84089_1000x1000reliever, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, features 172 LEDs that penetrate tissue to ease plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and neuroma. The LEDs stimulate circulation, relieve swelling and loosen the muscles in the foot using gentle, yet penetrating heat.

A walk in the park could well be the most enjoyable part of your day. Don’t let foot pain stand in your way when there are these drug-free, feel-good methods that will reduce your discomfort and allow you to join family and friends enjoying the unique gifts of the great outdoors.