Household Inventions with The Best Intentions

As the 1800s turned to the 20th century, Charles Holland Duell, commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is purported to have stated the Patent Office could be closed because “everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Though it’s widely disputed that he actually said this, we can all agree how far from the truth that idea was, considering the amazing inventions of the last 100 years.

Aside from innovations such as the Internet, life-saving medical devices, and jet planes, other common household items we use every day came about in the 20th century and are pretty amazing in their own right. For example, 85 years ago today, Schick introduced the first electric shaver, just one of the many innovative unique gifts Hammacher Schlemmer has introduced to American consumers over the years.87406_1000x1000

Today, we proudly offer The Best Gentleman’s Foil Shaver. It earned its rating from the
Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it produces the closest, most comfortable shave. The Best model’s foils gently vibrate to lift hair follicles, enabling the five blades—the 87335_1000x100086846_1000x1000most in the industry—to cut below the skin. It can cut right through three days’ stubbly growth and is easy to clean, too.

In 1934, we introduced the Waring blender—considered a novelty in its day—and now there’s a blender in nearly every home. Today, we proudly feature The Best Blender which earned its rating from The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it blended more quickly and was the only tested model with six blades. It earned the highest score for ease of use, thanks to its dishwasher-safe pitcher and blades and dual spouts that enable easy pours.

When we debuted the Rovaphone, the first cordless telephone, in 1973, it was a groundbreaking achievement to wander around the room, phone in hand, without a cord as a tether. Today, Hammacher Schlemmer offers the Caller Announcing Large View Phone System. The base phone and its portable handset both have a large caller ID display and an audible feature that announces callers’ names. This phone is the best choice as a unique gift for folks whose eyesight and hearing aren’t what they used to be. You can adjust the handset’s audio to suit your hearing, plus oversized, backlit buttons make dialing easier.

We’re certain more amazing inventions are yet to come, things not even yet in anyone’s imagination. Count on Hammacher Schlemmer to offer amazing and unique gift ideas that are The Best, The Only and The Unexpected delights for family and friends to make our daily lives easier.

Cook Up Competitive Fun in Your Own Kitchen

Cooking competitions have been around for decades…bake-offs, best-chili contests, BBQ match-ups. But in recent years, reality TV has taken kitchen competitions to a new level. 88104_1000x1000

A key element in televised contests is the element of surprise: the secret ingredient, revealed just as the timer is about to start. Now, among our unique gift items is one that lets you recreate the same level of suspense in your own kitchen for a DIY cooking competition: The Gourmand’s Gamble is a set of nine dice, each representing a different variable, such as proteins, seasonal vegetables, and cooking methods. Roll the dice to set the stage for competitive home cooking and a test of your culinary creativity.84703B_1000x1000

In any cooking contest, The Forever Sharp French Chef’s Knife will give you an edge. Made in Thiers, France, from stainless steel and titanium carbide, this knife retains its razor-sharp edge for 25 years. The lightweight ergonomic handle provides comfort and just the right leverage for prepping and chopping. Each knife is inspected up to 20 times to ensure a sharp, perfectly balanced professional instrument. 87122_1000x1000

Award-winning chefs know copper is a superior metal for conducting even heat on the stovetop. These copper diffuser plates are created from the same material used to make professional copper-clad cookware. These copper plates conduct heat 70 percent more efficiently than most high-end cookware and eliminate hot and cold spots that can ruin your soup, sauce, or demi-glace. A set of these copper plates is a unique gift idea for any home chef.

We recommend an at-home cooking competition as a unique twist for a hands-on dinner party, an alternative to a typical bridal shower, or even just a way for spouses to spend some fun, quality time in the kitchen together.

Get Time on Your Side

Don’t forget to “Spring Ahead” this weekend. Early Sunday morning, most of the U.S. will turn the clocks forward in the move to Daylight Saving Time. While some may curse the lost hour of sleep, an hour more of evening light feels like a unique gift of extra time to us. 88307_1000x1000

Granted, the first few weeks of going to bed earlier and getting up earlier can be a challenge. Fortunately, technology can help. This sleep-promoting light bulb, originally developed by NASA to help astronauts get to sleep in space, encourages production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes drowsiness. Used for 30 minutes just before bedtime, it helps your body maintain a natural circadian rhythm for restful, refreshing sleep. 84656_1000x1000

To ease the earlier wakeups, this gentle alarm clock delivers a progression of soft light and nature sounds. A half hour before wakeup, the clock’s light begins to glow softly, increasing its intensity gradually over the next 30 minutes. At the 15-minute mark, the clock begins to generate your choice of six nature sounds. The cycle concludes with a chime that gradually increases in volume to wake even the soundest sleeper. Time changes aside, this is an ideal unique gift idea for anyone who hates getting up in the morning. 84586_1000x1000

Finally, if you dislike the bother of resetting your clocks twice a year, an atomic clock does the work for you automatically using radio waves to communicate with the official clock transmitter in Colorado. The Giant Display Atomic Wall Clock combines the simplicity of unerring accuracy with numerals that are more than four inches high and easy to read, even from across the room. It also comes with an outdoor thermometer so you’ll know the temperature outside at just a glance. Perfect for this time of the year when both time and weather are changing.

Put the Smooth Moves on Weight Loss and Nutrition

A nutrient-packed smoothie is a great way to shape up for the season ahead. Blend together fruit or juice, protein powder, milk, or yogurt and some ice for a delicious mix that can help you lose weight and will boost your immune system, too. 12713_1000x1000

Start with a foundation of delicious juice. This powerful juicer retains more nutrients than other models thanks to a patented design that reduces liquid loss and oxidation. The wide feeding tube alleviates the need to prep fruit in small chunks, while the two-stage, low-speed motor crushes food without unnecessary aeration that breaks down essential enzymes. The strainer accessory also makes this juicer an ideal unique gift for those who have an aversion to pulp.

Once you’ve added all of the fruits, veggies and juices, put in six to eight ounces of reduced-fat milk or yogurt. Next, add a scoop of protein powder. Boosting the protein level of your smoothie helps your body absorb the nutrients and will ensure you don’t feel hungry an hour later. Protein powders are even available in varieties like chocolate and strawberry to kick the flavor up a notch.84960_1000x1000

Put all ingredients into a blender and top off with ice. If smoothies become part of your regular diet, you may find yourself quickly exhausting your freezer’s supply of ice cubes. Supplement the supply with this portable ice maker, rated The Best by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. It produces a batch of clear, well-formed cubes in less than 10 minutes. And because it can produce 1.8 lbs. of ice per hour, it also makes for a unique gift for anyone who entertains frequently. 87335_1000x1000

Now blend your ingredients thoroughly. This blender earned The Best rating from The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it blended more quickly and was the only tested model with six blades. It earned the highest score for ease of use, thanks to a dishwasher-safe pitcher and blades and dual spouts that enable easy pours. Its 72-oz. capacity means you can efficiently make smoothies for the whole family.

If you’re trying to slim down, replacing one meal a day with a nutritious and delicious smoothie can help you start to see results quickly. It’s an easy way to enjoy your favorite fruits and veggies, so you’ll enjoy better health, too.

24 Hours of Unplugged Bliss

Put down your phone. Take your hands off that tablet. Step away from the computer and turn off the TV.

Join us from sunset tonight through sunset tomorrow for the National Day of Unplugging. It’s designed to help us focus on those little moments in life we often miss because we’re obsessed with screen time. Relax, reflect, get outdoors, connect with neighbors, read a book to a child. Take advantage of the unique gift of face-to-face social interaction.

Don’t worry, your devices will still be there for you tomorrow night. And so will we. If you still feel the urge to shop for The Best, The Only, The Unexpected and other unique gifts, you might even enjoy reading a good old-fashioned printed catalog.

Going Green in the March Toward Spring

If the month of March was a color, no doubt it would be a shade of green.

Lawns browned by the harshness of winter begin to take on a spring-like hue. Bulb flowers start poking through the ground. And of course, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with all things green this month.

You don’t have to hail from Ireland to feel Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. Share the luck of the Irish with friends and family with these unique gift ideas that represent the true craftsmanship of the Emerald Isle. 78855_1000x1000

This authentic walking stick bears the same name as the town traditionally known as the source of its origin centuries ago—Shillelagh. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the shillelagh is made in County Wicklow from blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), selected for its superior weight-to-hardness ratio. Each stick is harvested from specimens of the stout wood in remote areas of County Wicklow, Cork, and Kerry. No two sticks are identical, so each one made is truly a unique gift. 84392_1000x1000

Perfect for staying warm while curled up with a good book, this lady’s reading shawl is made in County Kildare, Ireland. The shawl’s front panels feature traditional wide patch pockets, useful for tucking away a paperback or e-reader. Its enveloping design covers the full back, chest and upper arms, leaving hands free to turn pages. Knit from soft merino wool, the shawl is made by a firm whose roots can be traced back to Kate O’Shea, the first Irishwoman to commercially sell her hand-knit garments in 1856. 87326_1000x1000

You may want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a genteel nip of Irish whiskey. These glasses were designed specifically for tasting whiskey and have a thick, sturdy base that complements the depth of whiskey, thin sides that allow you to clearly see the liquid’s color and a tapered mouth that accentuates aromas. Recognized as the best glasses for tasting, they are used by every whiskey company in Ireland and Scotland for sampling their product.

In the U.S., we’ve made St. Patrick’s Day our own, with parades, parties and corned beef and cabbage dinners. In Chicago, they even goose up the green by dying the river an emerald hue. Enjoy the greening up of everything during the early weeks of spring, and Erin Go Bragh!

A Grand Way to Experience Camping

Among the most unique gifts nature has bestowed upon us are the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon and the majestic peaks of the Grand Tetons.

Both of these western wonders will be preserved for generations to come, thanks to their status as national parks. Today marks the anniversary for both of these natural treasures: Grand Canyon National Park was established on this date in 1919, with Grand Teton National Park following ten years later.87699_1000x1000

Within most of the national parks throughout the U.S., you can backpack to remote campsites, or drive to a campground in your RV and hook up to utilities. Whether you choose to rough it or have a more luxurious camping experience, we’re featuring some items to make your time more enjoyable. 12452_1000x1000

This key-fob-sized GPS homing device provides an easy way to find your way back to your campsite after a hike. Pushing the “mark” button before you leave saves your current location and when it’s time to return, it displays a directional compass and the distance you need to travel.  The advanced GPS receiver chipset is accurate to within five yards in cities or forested areas. This GPS is also a unique gift idea for those who can’t remember where they parked on city streets or in a mall parking lot. 84081_1000x1000

For relaxing at the end of a day of outdoor activity, this dual hammock sets up easily on a trailer hitch. Two 600-denier polyester hammock chairs have hanging footrests, allowing campers to relax in a reclined position while keeping feet and legs elevated. The hammock chairs hang from a three-piece stand that assembles and attaches to a trailer hitch in just 10 minutes.

Camping lets you escape everyday cares, but not mosquitos. This portable tabletop mosquito repeller provides relief from airborne pests in any outdoor setting. Slightly larger than a soda can, the cordless device stands unobtrusively on a table or picnic bench and emits the safe, subtle floral scent of geranium, peppermint, and lemongrass, plant-derived essential oils that naturally repel mosquitoes, gnats, and midges across a 15′ x 15′ area for up to 18 hours.

While today is the anniversary of two truly grand parks, this August the National Park Service turns 100. If visiting any of this country’s national parks is on your bucket list – whether as a day trip or as a camping adventure – 2016 is a great year to do so!

Modern Strategies Help Relieve Chronic Pain

Approximately 100 million Americans—that’s nearly one out of three of us—suffer from some form of chronic pain. Current estimates show this results in about $600 billion per year in medical treatments and lost productivity.

A not-insignificant percentage of this figure is spent on pain medications. While pharmacology has given millions the unique gift of sweet relief from their constant discomfort, there are also non-pharmaceutical approaches that can help decrease pain and improve your quality of life. Two breakthrough technologies are now being used by millions as alternatives to medicinal pain relief. 86427_1000x1000

The first is a technology initially developed by NASA to treat astronauts’ injuries. This method makes use of LEDs to deliver infrared heat deep into tissue. A study by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee showed it reduced inflammation by up to 37%, making it ideal as a daily therapy for those with arthritis. 84089_1000x1000

This mitten-like device, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, is lined with 40 LEDs that generate gentle, yet penetrating heat that stimulates circulation, relieves swelling and loosens muscles in the hand. We also offer an exclusive foot pain reliever with 172 LEDs that penetrate tissue to ease plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and neuroma. 83544_1000x1000

For those afflicted with lower back pain or discomfort in the knee, shoulder, arm or leg, this pain-relieving, hands-free wrap secures with a 40″-long flexible strap. It helps ease swelling in joints and loosens tight muscles in all parts of the body using 63 integrated LEDs. Know someone suffering from arthritis or even a weekend warrior who overdoes it? This is a great unique gift idea for either of those folks. 87169_1000x1000

The other breakthrough technology uses harmless high-frequency electrical pulses to stimulate nerves and block pain signals throughout the body. Hammacher Schlemmer’s exclusive All Night Chronic Pain Relieving Wrap can help relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis without the need for costly prescription drugs. A built-in accelerometer detects when you are sleeping and automatically reduces the intensity of the treatment while still reducing pain.

Use of any of these devices can be combined with other drug-free methods of pain relief: biofeedback, meditation, gentle stretching, applying ice…or even making use of soothing music and aromatherapy. With these strategies and new technologies, you may be able to reduce or even eliminate pain pills for the long term!

Feel the Love for Your Furry Friends

While the Westminster Kennel Club was crowning CJ, a German Shorthaired Pointer, as its top dog earlier this week, millions of American households took comfort in knowing no other animal could ever be loved as much as their own dog or cat. 79345_1000x1000

From a faithful four-legged friend to fur babies and granddoggies, many of us feel our pets are true family members. To celebrate the warm connection between humans and their dogs and cats, tomorrow is National Love Your Pet Day. Explore these suggestions from Hammacher Schlemmer that will help you give your own animal the unique gift of the extra comfort it deserves. 79686_1000x1000

This Warming Cat Bed generates a gentle heat that’s especially soothing to older or arthritic pets. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, its integrated heater produces a mild, radiant warmth to ensure your cat or small dog always has a comfortable place to lie. The cover is easily machine-washable, too. 79687_1000x1000

Mattresses sold today sit higher above the floor, making it difficult for smaller or older dogs to join you in bed for a restful sleep. This Pet Ramp and Staircase provides a means for small, older, or arthritic pets to reach sofas or beds without putting undue stress on their joints. The two-step staircase converts into a ramp in seconds, plus it folds down for ease of storage. We also offer a three-step version87767_1000x1000

To guard your chairs and sofas against fur, scratches, moisture, and other pet messes, we recommend the Non-Slip Furniture Protecting Pet Covers. Made from plush, deep-pile velvet, you need not shoo your faithful friend to the floor nor follow behind with a vacuum cleaner. The quilted, padded sections provide so much comfort, you might consider these covers as a unique gift idea even for a petless friend or human family member.

Recent statistics show 37% of U.S. households have at least one dog and 30% have one or more cats. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy these unique gifts of unconditional love, show your pet a little extra care tomorrow and break out a special treat for your favorite furry friend.

A Day to Wine About

This Thursday is National Drink Wine Day…like we need a special day. 82643_1000x1000

You can bet we have a bottle of our favorite Cabernet ready, along with The Best Electric Wine Opener. This opener requires virtually no effort at all, so we’ll have that bottle uncorked before you can say Vitis Vinifera86245_1000x1000

It might seem indulgent to mark a day devoted to drinking wine, but there truly are many reasons to celebrate. Wine—in moderation, of course—can reduce one’s risk of heart disease. It enhances the flavor of food. Vino holds an important place in history. And its properties as a mood elevator need no explanation. 86428_1000x1000

If you’re looking for a unique gift to help a friend celebrate Drink Wine Day, The Mirthful Sommelier’s Wine Glasses are just the ticket. These glasses have bent stems that add a touch of whimsy to one’s wine service. Set a lighthearted mood from the start, or slyly switch out conventional stemware with these when guests are about to start on their second Syrah and let the laughs begin.

Proper storage of fine wine, however, requires a more serious focus. This countertop wine refrigera
earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it maintained the perfect temperature for wine most consistently and is extremely easy to set up. It holds up to eight bottles of your favorite red or white.

While we have the wine open, we’d like to raise a toast to our company namesake, Albert Hammacher, today on the 177th anniversary of his birth. While his focus was on providing hardware items for the growing New York City of his time, we know he would appreciate his company’s unparalleled selection of unique gifts today.