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Celebrating a Pioneer in the Business of Unique Gifts

This week, we mark the 178th birthday of a man who came to New York as a young German immigrant.

That young German was Albert Hammacher, born February 16, 1839, in Leichlingen, a farming community in the North Rhine-Westphalia region.

At the tender age of 20, Mr. Hammacher invested $5,000 (equal to about $150,000 today – records do not show how he came into this money) in a thriving hardware store owned by Charles Tollner. The store was known as a source for hard-to-find tools, paving the way for a policy we have today of providing The Only, unique gifts exclusive to Hammacher Schlemmer.

Hammacher’s investment allowed the store to continue to grow, expanding into a larger location and honing its reputation for high quality. Today, the independent Hammacher Schlemmer Institute continues this quality reputation, objectively testing to determine items that are The Best, truly superior in their product category.

By 1867, Tollner had left the business and Mr. Hammacher took on as a partner a long-time employee of the store: William Schlemmer. Together, they continued to grow the business and embrace innovation. Taking advantage of new technology of the time, the Hammacher Schlemmer showroom was among the first businesses to install electric lights. Back in the day, lighting may have been unexpected by many customers. Today’s Hammacher Schlemmer customers delight in finding The Unexpected unique gift items, a selection that is continuously updated.

In 1899, Mr. Hammacher left the business and returned to Germany to live for the remainder of his life, passing away on January 12, 1912. But his name and the legacy he created of The Best, The Only and The Unexpected live on.

Here’s the Cure for Going B-R-R-R-Foot

If there’s someone in your house complaining about cold feet all winter long, odds are good that person is female.

That’s no coincidence. Scientific studies have shown that women’s hands and feet average 3 degrees colder than men’s. Women’s blood vessels constrict more drastically, resulting in reduced blood flow and cold extremities.

We’re here to help cure popsicle toes. This cozy foot muff provides heat therapy to warm and soothe chilly feet. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the quilted muff has imperceptible electric heating elements that surround the feet with the unique gift of gentle warmth to shake off the chill and baby tired tootsies.

Of course, men are not completely immune to the problem of cold feet. These comfortably soft gentlemen’s slippers have adjustable uppers made from Mongolian sheepskin that provide a custom fit. The sheepskin interiors’ dense, hollow fibers allow air to circulate, keeping feet toasty warm. Another Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, these slippers have double-walled uppers made from durable chestnut-napped suede, and a grippy indoor/outdoor rubber outsole.

This electric bed warmer is designed for the foot of the bed, delivering the perfect amount of heat to keep toes toasty without overheating the rest of the body. Rather than heating the entire bed with a conventional electric blanket when only your feet are cold, this machine-washable warmer confines its heat to the lower part of the mattress, resting on top or under the covers. This makes an ideal and unique gift as a wedding present, too.

Other factors, such as hormones and fat-to-muscle ratios, also enter in to how cold your hands and feet get. Taking measures to add warmth as well as adding circulation-boosting light exercise to your routine can help. And if all else fails, just remember: cold hands, warm heart.

Did You Get One of These? It’s Up in the Air

If there was one unique gift you didn’t receive for the holidays you’re tempted to buy now for yourself, odds are good it’s a drone. And you’d be in good company: a report released earlier this year by the Federal Aviation Administration showed drone sales increased by 445 percent this year over 2015.

We’re proud to feature a selection of high-flying fun for every level of use, from the beginner to the professional…and even one designed for children.

For camera and video buffs: This ultra-high definition drone is equipped with the same Micro Four Thirds camera used by professional aerial cinematographers for capturing 4K RAW images and video. Two radio remotes—one for flight and one for camera—enable two operators to partner for optimal content capture from up to three miles away. A three-axis gimbal system stabilizes the camera while multiple flight modes manage the drone’s four propellers simultaneously, for hovering, circling, or flying over a point of interest.

For kids and beginners: Part game and part educational toy, this children’s drone dances to music, lets pilots program the flight path, and teaches a variety of other skills. Controlled by a free app, the quadcopter’s self-stabilizing mechanism keeps it aloft above the included wireless beacon, so users can focus less on steering and more on fun. This truly unique gift is safe for indoor use, with built-in sensors that help detect and avoid obstacles.

For spontaneous use and travel: this compact video drone folds up to the size of smartphone, small enough to slip into a shirt pocket. Its four micro-electric propellers deploy from each corner, forming a craft that quickly ascends, descends, and nimbly turns in any direction, remotely controlled from up to 100′ away. Pictures and video are captured on its built-in HD camera that includes a 4GB microSD card. Three speed settings enable beginners, advanced fliers, and expert aerial acrobats alike to perform maneuvers.

We have more UFOs (Unique Flying Objects) online for your high-flying enjoyment…ideal unique gifts for yourself or a friend!

Holiday Wishes from Us to You

At this time of the year that is special to so many people, we’d like to express thanks for that which is special to us: You.

Thanks to you, Hammacher Schlemmer is the premier source for unique gifts that are The Best, The Only and The Unexpected. We started in 1848 as a hardware store providing hard-to-find and high-quality tools. While the types of goods in our catalogs and online have changed, we continue the tradition of offering quality products that can’t be found anywhere else, all backed by a lifetime guarantee. Your continued patronage and loyalty make it all possible.

From everyone at Hammacher Schlemmer, here’s hoping your holidays are merry and bright and may 2017 brings the most precious unique gift of all: health and happiness for you, your family, and all those you hold dear.

Unique Gifts for the Star Wars Aficionado

Next week, the latest Star Wars film, Rogue One, opens in theaters nationwide. Set as a prequel to the original film, Rogue One follows a group of Rebel spies out to steal design plans for the Empire’s superweapon, the Death Star.

With Christmas right around the corner, 88159_1000x1000it’s easier than ever to find the perfect unique gifts for any fans of the franchise on your shopping list. Here are just a few of the Star Wars items we’re now featuring in our online catalog. These hooded fleece robes transport common Earthlings to a galaxy far, far away to assume the persona of an iconic Star Wars character. Each robe bears its namesake’s signature hallmarks from the beloved movies, whether you favor cuddly-but-fierce Chewbacca, Sith Lord Darth Vader, favorite droid R2-D2, wise Yoda, or a rebel Jedi Knight. Thirsty polyester fleece keeps the wearer as dry as Tatooine87814a_1000x1000.

This remote-controlled quadcopter drone comes in the guise of the infamous smuggler’s craft, the Millennium Falcon. This iteration of the Falcon mimics its namesake’s nimble control by hovering in place, rising and lowering in a strictly vertical column before attempting to outrace incoming TIE fighters. With a subspace hyperdrive and bow C-beam lamps that glow during flight, its built-in gyro stabilization keeps the drone level and easy to fly.

Innocent slices of bread become sinister breakfast tokens of evil in this toaster made in the likeness of Darth Vader or in this toaster in the form of a Stormtrooper helmet. The Sith Lord’s toaster imprints “Star Wars” onto one side of a piece of bread and browns the crust as a frame. As a literal example and metaphorical icon of Imperial imprinting, the Stormtrooper toaster indelibly browns bread products with the Imperial Crest.

This is just the beginning – we have many more unique gifts and collectible merchandise that will delight any Star Wars fan. See our full collection online today.

Award-Winning Unique Gifts for Kids

Some kids’ letters to Santa include three or four pages of wish-list items. And yet, there’s a lot of pressure on a loving aunt, uncle, or grandparent to find unique gifts for the little ones that will be both memorable to the parents and loved by the children themselves.

We have suggestions for award-winning unique gifts recognized by publications or institutions for their creativity and contribution to child development. 86177a_1000x1000Each of these goes far beyond the average toy – just as you would expect from Hammacher Schlemmer.

Winner of a Creative Mind Magazine Preferred Choice Award for Creative Toys, this plush and cuddy lamb generates eight different tranquil sounds to lull an infant to sleep. It re-creates the sound of a mother’s heartbeat heard within the womb, a gentle rain shower, the calming sounds of ocean surf, the harmonic sounds of whale song, and four soothing melodies.88838a_1000x1000

These award-winning Symphony Blocks can be rearranged to play a million different melodies, teaching children about music, shapes, and colors. A recipient of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Classic Award, the five blocks can be placed into the sturdy base in any order. Each side of each block plays a different phrase of music when pressed. Hitting the big red button on the front runs through all five phrases in sequence, while a flip of a switch changes the music from classical to swinging jazz to drum-filled African rhythms.86450_1000x1000

With all the action worthy of its onomatopoeic name, the Schmeckenbecker Kinetic Contraptions Kit is a 6′-tall tower that puts a marble through a labyrinth of contraptions. Winner of an Oppenheim Toy of the Year Award, the kit provides young designers with hands-on lessons in physics with over 600 pieces that assemble into as many configurations a mind can envision. Young engineers are challenged to place obstacles at precise angles to ensure a non-stop journey with each run.

Our online selection is abundant with unique gifts for youngsters. Use our online gift guide to find the perfect presents for children of all ages, in all price ranges.

A Unique Wallet, a Great Gift for Him

A wallet is a holiday gift well-appreciated by many. For that completely unique gift, however, we have some suggestions that are quite different from the ordinary. 88124_1000x1000Check out these wallets sure to create a memorable impression on anyone on your holiday gift list.

This ultra-thin 28-card wallet is made from supple lambskin in the centuries-old tradition of fine Florentine leather goods…and it’s a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive. This handsome wallet evokes the superior workmanship of Tuscan craftsmen. Even when fully loaded, the bi-fold wallet is less than 1″ thick so it slips comfortably into a pants pocket, making it90046_1000x1000 an ideal unique gift for anyone who hates bulky billfolds.

This handmade wallet sports an exterior of 100% genuine stingray skin, the same durable material used for centuries by Japanese swordsmiths as a wrap for weapon hilts to ensure a confident, lasting grip. Considered by many to be the toughest wallet material in the world, the resilient and moisture-resistant stingray skin withstands the daily stresses placed on a wallet, ensuring years of reliable use without the fading, cracking, 12641_1000x1000or unraveling common to typical wallets.

There’s nothing worse than the sinking feeling of not being able to find your wallet. This self-finding wallet includes an integrated tracker device that alerts a paired Bluetooth device up to 100 ft. away. Should this wallet go missing, rather than turning your home inside out, simply launch the accompanying app and the wallet will send a signal followed by an e-mail containing a Google map showing its location.

Should you find a wallet’s just not the thing, our online catalog and easy-to-use gift guides are full of ideas that will help you find a perfect unique gift for him.

You Auto Get Ready for Winter

The past week’s snows in the upper Midwest, New England, and upstate New York served as wake-up calls that it’s time to prepare for the worst Mother Nature can dish out. Before the next storm hits, get yourself and your car ready for winter driving.

Before every trip, ensure both your wiper fluid reservoir and your gas tank are adequately filled. Driving with a dirty or salty windshield is never safe, and if you’re stuck in traffic for hours,88029_1000x1000 you want to be able to run your car as long as possible.

Consider a better ice scraper. This telescoping, ergonomic scraper has ice-breaking teeth that gnaw through a glacial coating to quickly clear off a car. Grooves on the scraper’s edge increase grip and friction, chiseling away icy build-up without damaging paint or glass. The opposite end has long bristles that swivel and lock into place perpendicular or parallel to the handle to serve as a push broom or a89219_1000x1000 traditional snow brush.

You may prefer a car windshield cover that lets you remove built-up snow and ice with just a quick shake. This windshield tarp, available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, eliminates the need to scrape the windshield, and also saves time and gas wasted running the engine while the defroster warms up. Twin window flaps and sewn-in magnets keep the tarp secure. For any driver in the family, this is a perfect unique gift that will make them the envy of their fellow commuters.87095_1000x1000

Sand or kitty litter can help gain traction if you’re stuck in snow, but far superior is this roll-up snow escape tread. It provides dependable extra traction for your car on ice, or in snow or mud. This tread is made of heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride rubber that delivers the unique gift of traction in the harshest weather. Simply wedge the tread under any powered tire, and it will provide enough bite to get your car back on track.

Keep an extra set of gloves and a hat in your car throughout the season so you’re ready for anything…even for leaving your car behind and walking if necessary. No one can predict for certain how harsh this winter will be, so let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

Pump Up Your Outdoor Holiday Display

With Thanksgiving little more than a week away, this is the perfect time to plan an outstanding and impressive holiday display for your yard or other outdoor spaces. These larger-than-life inflatable decorations—all available only from Hammacher Schlemmer—are guaranteed to grab attention from everyone who comes by your house87336_1000x1000 .86467_1000x1000 87116a_1000x1000

This inflatable Darth Vader provides an imposing, yet celebratory, addition to an outdoor holiday display. In keeping with the holiday spirit, this reformed Sith lord bears a candy saber decorated with a holly berry ribbon as a unique gift of yuletide mirth to brighten his Dark Side. Despite his 16-foot height, he deploys quicker than a lightsaber using the integrated pump.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a television classic for all time. This 15-foot-tall inflatable Abominable Snow Monster of the North, a.k.a. “Bumble” from the 1964 stop-motion show, will tower over your yard. This magnificent beast’s durable fur-covered polyester hide is accentuated by his frostbitten blue face, hands, and feet. His enormous size and internal lights draw attention to holiday decorations and elicit astonished stares from passersby.

This nearly 12-foot tall inflatable Clarice brings Rudolph’s “cuuuute” companion to life on a grand scale. Our rendition of Clarice stands taller than a Clydesdale and bears all of the kind-hearted character’s signature features, from her polka-dotted red bow to her renowned long lashes. Of course, we offer an inflatable 15-foot Rudolph himself, too.

From classic wreaths to dazzling light shows, we have a host of outdoor décor for the holidays, unique gifts for your own home or someone else’s. Shop now to ensure your yard is the most impressive on the block.

Check Out Our ‘Stache of Unique Gifts for Shaving

Gentlemen, it’s time to rally ‘round for men’s health and “grow your mo”. That’s the idea behind Movember: champion your mustache and raise funds for awareness and prevention of diseases such as prostate cancer.

No matter how bushy your upper lip may get, we have some unique gifts that will help keep the rest of your countenance clean-shaven and slick as a whistle.84865_1000x1000

This cordless beard and mustache trimmer earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it provided the most precise shave. Panelists preferred The Best model because it provided a clean, comfortable shave with “zero pulling or nicking.” Lesser models were made from cheap plastic, unlike The Best model which has a superior stainless-steel body and blades.88776_1000x1000

Here’s another item that earned The Best rating: this foil shaver is rated The Best by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because panelists noted it produced “an awesome shave, as close as a blade and lasts all day.” The Best model’s foils generate subtle vibrations that lift hair follicles and enable the five blades (the most in the industry) to cut below the skin. Unlike lesser shavers that left some areas “patchy” The Best model’s pivoting head “reached every nook and cranny effortlessly.”83312_1000x1000

Come December 1, should you decide to “mow your mo” you deserve this heated lather machine. It dispenses warm shaving cream or gel to enable a closer, more comfortable shave. The device heats the cream or gel for 90 seconds, producing a barbershop-worthy, soothing lather that opens pores and softens and raises whiskers so they are easier to cut. And with the holidays coming soon, it makes the perfect unique gift for any frequent shaver to enjoy on the cold days of winter.

All men hope for good health 365 days a year, but during the month of “Movember” consider scheduling that long-delayed doctor’s appointment, becoming more physically active and supporting the Movember Movement’s fund-raising efforts to improve men’s health worldwide.