Small Steps Protect Earth’s Unique Gifts

Saving the Earth seems daunting, like a 1000-mile journey on foot. Our Earth’s climate and its resources need our conservative habits, in the traditional definition of the word. To conserve: to hold back, to keep in reserve, and to not waste the resources of future generations.

This Saturday is Earth Day, with focus on being conservative with our use of water and fuel, and not using harmful chemicals on our lawns and gardens. In the true spirt of Earth Day, we have unique gifts to provide ideas for small but impactful steps for your own home.

Conserve water—This 55-gallon year-round rain barrel provides a ready supply of water for flower beds and gardens, yet resembles an earthenware urn, allowing it to blend seamlessly with a home’s exterior. A rust-proof screen with a secondary safety grid prevents debris and curious animals from entering the barrel. A brass spigot makes it easy to fill a watering can or you can connect your garden hose to a built-in fitting.

Reduce use of fuel—This cordless electric lawn mower delivers cutting performance comparable to a gas mower without the accompanying noise, air-fouling emissions, and frequent refills of gasoline. The variable-speed mower features a push-button start that eliminates the hassle of pull cords. In tests by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, it ran for up to 100 minutes and fully recharged in about an hour.

Cut down on chemicals—This lawn and garden steamer helps control common weeds with ordinary tap water, rather than harmful chemicals or backbreaking labor. A squeeze of the steamer’s trigger unleashes a weed-wilting blast of steam, shriveling unwanted vegetation with just a 5-10 second treatment.

The Earth has given us many unique gifts of its own…the time to act is now and the choice is yours to make. To paraphrase a line from Jimmy Buffet, do we want to treat the Earth like a temple or like a tent?

Happy 176th, Mr. Schlemmer!

The dictionary defines stalwart as reliable, loyal and hardworking. Those words could describe William Schlemmer, born in Germany on April 20, 1841.

Mr. Schlemmer came to the U.S. at age 11 and went to work for his uncle, Charles Tollner. Tollner owned a successful hardware store in the lower Bowery, where the young lad hawked tools and hardware in front of the store.

As his career progressed, it was not uncommon for Mr. Schlemmer to arrive at work by 5 a.m., seldom leaving before midnight. In 1857, he convinced Albert Hammacher to invest in the enterprise. As the years went by, Mr. Schlemmer gradually gained ownership of the company, first buying out his uncle’s shares, then most of Mr. Hammacher’s.

Our success today owes much to Mr. Schlemmer’s ethics and values. Our selection of The Best unique gifts, fully vetted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute, pay homage to his insistence on uncompromising standards of quality.

For example, we believe he would be a fan of this quiet-running window fan. It earned The Best rating because it produced the highest air velocity and pushed the most air volume. The Best model’s dual fans are reversible and operate independently, allowing one fan to draw cool air inside while the other pushes warm air outside for optimal circulation.

As an 11-year-old employee, young William undoubtedly spent some time sweeping up with an old-fashioned broom. He would have been amazed by this cordless handheld vacuum. It earned The Best rating by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it cleaned most effectively, ran the longest, and had superior features. The Best Hand Vac proved to clean debris in far less time than lesser models.

A photo from around the turn of the century shows Mr. Schlemmer with a tidy mustache. Certainly, he would have appreciated this beard and mustache trimmer, rated The Best by panelists because it provided the “cleanest, most comfortable shave” with “zero pulling or nicking.” Father’s Day will be here before you know it; consider this as a unique gift for him.

We thank the “Old Gentleman,” as Mr. Schlemmer was called in his later years, for the business he grew. We promise to continue to guard his values for The Best unique gifts, reflected as always in our Unconditional and Unwavering Lifetime Guarantee.

Time for Post-Taxation Relaxation

Are your tax returns complete? If not, get to it—you only have till Tuesday.

If you filed weeks ago, perhaps you’re fretting you may not have gotten the biggest refund possible. If you’re waiting till this weekend because you “work best under pressure,” you’re likely feeling the pressure by now. Either way, odds are you find the whole process…taxing.

So for all of us who must do the inevitable, we are presenting some unique gifts for post-taxation relaxation. Loosen those tight shoulders, get circulation back in the gluteal area, and send your mind to a blissful state of zen.

This tension-relieving collar uses vibrating massage, electric stimulation, and heat therapy to melt stress away. Used by professional therapists, it is ideal for helping to relieve muscle pain and strain from hunching over 1040 forms or tax-prep software. You can select sessions in 5-minute increments up to 30 minutes.

Tight from too much sitting? Created only for Hammacher Schlemmer, this deep-tissue hip massager is a unique gift with a unique shape. Its powerful percussive nodes work deep into hip and lumbar tissue to loosen stiff muscles. Just rest in a chair against the enveloping U-shaped cushion, while massage heads on each side provide Swedish-style rhythmic tapotement that stimulates blood flow to revitalize tired and sore muscles in the lower back, hip, and sides—areas other massagers seldom go.

Once the body’s relaxed, it’s time to rest the brain. This eternally reusable canvas reinforces a perpetual zen-like mindset. Your water-based, slate-grey creations evaporate in minutes. Though letting go of one’s creation practices the Buddhist principle of impermanence, an unexpectedly vivid image may still be captured with a smartphone.

If you’re still feeling stressed over tax time, put the feeling to good use. Make a new tax year resolution to watch your finances more closely, stick to a budget and next year, and start your tax return by March 1. You’ll be less likely to miss potential deductions, finish your return earlier, and enjoy the unique gift of relaxation that much sooner.

Here’s the Buzz on the Birds and the Bees

You may have heard about the birds and the bees—and how populations of both are diminishing, alarmingly in the case of bees.

Both of these creatures are essential to the delicate balance of the ecosystem because of the unique gifts they give us. Birds spread seeds and provide insect control. Without bees, we would lose important fruit and vegetable crops such as broccoli, tomatoes, apples, cherries, and, of course, sweet and delicious honey.

Each of us can play a part in protecting birds and bees, and not take for granted their presence around us. Here are a few unique gifts to help you get started attracting and appreciating them both.

This low-maintenance bee house attracts solitary bees—non-stinging, non-swarming species that are essential for pollinating flowers and nurturing lush gardens. As recommended by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society, the wooden apiary is outfitted with two dozen slim tunnels, where gentle solitary species such as the mason bee and the leafcutter bee lay individual larvae, without the frenzy of communal hives.

Draw fine feathered friends to your yard with this bird-calling audio player that entices them to visit a feeder, perch, or birdhouse. Designed in consultation with ornithologists, the device attracts birds using calls recorded in the field, not digitally synthesized, for maximum realism. One setting plays the melodious songs of bluebirds, orioles, wrens, finches, and indigo buntings, while the other reproduces the song of beneficial mosquito-devouring purple martins.

Spot birds that arrive in your yard with these 144X magnification binoculars, available only from Hammacher Schlemmer. They adjust easily from 20X to their maximum 144X with a simple press of a lever, providing sharp, clear images. Expertly collimated to provide a single image, they use powerful, fully coated optics, allowing you to view your target from a distance, without disturbing the bird into flight. With spring finally here, these binoculars are an ideal unique gift for any nature lover.

Scientists have been studying ways to bolster populations of bees and birds alike. Possible solutions include reducing use of chemical pesticides, planting more native species of grasses and plants, and encouraging each of us to turn our backyard into an oasis for these vulnerable flying creatures. Let’s do that!

Distinctive Spirits Deserve Distinctive Barware

From 2003 to 2015, the number of craft spirits producers in the U.S. increased from about 60 to nearly 1,300. This booming business gives us more than just the unique gifts of the flavors in our glasses. The artisanal liquor industry creates jobs, puts tax dollars into the coffers, and breathes new life into communities where tasting rooms are located.

For the home bar, artisanal spirits provide the opportunity to create a distinctive experience for yourself and your guests. The products of craft distillers often express unique taste profiles, transforming a simple drink at the end of the day into an experience that is almost culinary in its nuances. You can further express the uniqueness of your home bar with barware personalized by your own monogram.

This personalized decanter with two matching tumblers is made by skilled Bavarian artisans with over 180 years of experience and tradition. The decanter and glasses are crafted using time-honored techniques at one of the world’s most advanced and environmentally responsible crystal manufacturing facilities. The tumblers’ size and heft are deserving of the finest craft spirits, made even more unique with your family initial engraved on each piece.

And that fine craft spirit should be served on the proper ice. This precision-made mold is the same kind used in premier restaurants and bars to yield a perfect 2.5″-diameter sphere of ice in one minute. With less surface area and a slower melting time than conventional cubes, the sphere chills the spirits faster while minimizing dilution. Add an optional personalized aluminum insert to brand your initial into each sphere.

The growth of craft distilling came about thanks to the success of the craft beer industry, which itself owes much of its growth to the “buy local” movement. There’s a hometown pride that comes from taking your own growler into the microbrewery down the street, coming away with 64 oz. of freshly made ale. Even better, this sleek, modern-age growler is crafted of stainless steel with a swing-top, tight-seal silicone stopper. Like the other unique gifts we’ve mentioned here, it can be monogrammed for yourself or your favorite “hop head”.

There are interesting distilleries and microbreweries in every state now. If you have not yet explored the elixirs from your area, grab your monogrammed growler, raise your personalized glass, and toast to these locally made unique gifts of libation.

We’re Going to the Dogs…and Loving It!

Dogs can be loyal friends, protectors, helpers, and providers of unconditional comfort. It’s no wonder they are called man’s best friend!

It makes good sense to do all we can to keep our faithful furry friends safe and happy, especially during April, Canine Fitness Month. Here are some unique gifts dedicated to helping you give your dog a healthy and happy life.

This backseat safety deck creates a comfortable platform for dogs riding in your car. The uneven surfaces, shallow depths, and slopes of back seats cause dogs to pace and claw to avoid sliding and falling into the back seat foot wells. This shelf’s stable, level surface eliminates these behaviors, protecting upholstery and preventing potential injuries.

Keep ants and other crawling, disease-carrying insects out of your dog’s food bowl. This moated porcelain pet bowl set protects dog food from kibble-craving ants. A nephroid-shaped bowl for water creates a moat around the food bowl. The bowls rest on a sturdy bamboo stand to keep them raised, another health benefit for your dog by reducing excess neck strain while eating.

As your dog ages, arthritis and sore joints and muscles can make it difficult for him to reach a soft bed or sofa. This pet staircase converts into a ramp in seconds, providing a safe means for the dog (or cat) to ascend and descend without exerting undue stress on joints and muscles. It makes an ideal and unique gift for anyone with a much-loved older pet.

Canine Fitness Month encourages a healthier lifestyle for dogs and humans alike. Get outside with your dog: play, take a long walk, and celebrate the unique gifts of a less sedentary lifestyle. You’ll both be better off for it!

Ready for an Exciting Season, Right Off the Bat

Hey batter, batter: Sunday, the 2017 Major League Baseball season begins. This time last year, we postulated the Chicago Cubs would go all the way. Can they do it again? Or will it be the Cleveland Indians, the Cubs’ World Series rivals and current holder of baseball’s longest drought? Or perhaps in Boston, where Chris Sale changed the color of his Sox from White to Red, the team’s strength on the mound provides their chance at a championship.

No matter which team you root for, it’s an exciting time of year for sports fans. Celebrate hope for the new season with these unique gifts, perfect for any baseball fanatic.

Personalize your media room or “man cave” with this truly one-of-a-kind framed poster that displays your name on a jersey in your favorite team’s locker room, hung next to current players’ uniforms. In the locker room scene, you get your own stall, complete with a personalized name plate, equipment, and jersey bearing your name and favorite number. This priceless memento is encased in a stainless-steel frame with crystal-clear glass.

Nearly every family has one: the baseball trivia expert who can recite decades-old stats and recall famous plays from memory. A fitting and unique gift for such a fan is this personalized archive from The New York Times. The book brings together articles chronicling 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.

On off days, get your time on the field with this classic wooden pinball baseball game. A spring-loaded plunger “pitches” the ball – a stainless steel marble—onto the field of play. Players swing the wooden bat with a quick flip of a batting lever. The right touch launches the ball into one of the spaces designating a single, double, triple, or home run…all while avoiding one of “out” spaces that deposit the ball in a tray for another at-bat. Working LED stadium lights illuminate the playing field for night games.

Whether your favorite team is attempting to repeat history or finds itself in a rebuilding year, we wish you a winning season with hopes of the unique gift of a World Series Championship. Play ball!

Go Take a Hike!

This is a great time of year to begin a walking program, whether in the woods, your own neighborhood, or an urban landscape. The weather is ideal…it’s neither too hot nor too cold. Mosquitos are not yet making pests of themselves. And every day, you can observe changes in flora and fauna as nature brings forth the unique gifts of spring.

The health benefits of walking are numerous, but like any exercise, if you haven’t done it in a while you may want to start out slowly, building up to more time and distance over a few weeks. We have some unique gifts to help you put your best foot forward, so to speak, as you begin a new walking regimen or reinforce a current habit.

This genuine Irish shillelagh is handmade in the emerald isle – and no two sticks are identical. Blackthorn wood gives the walking stick its superior weight-to-hardness ratio, unlike inauthentic versions that fuse a blackthorn handle to a hazel shaft. A Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, each shillelagh features a knobbed handle sanded smooth and a shaft painted in a black enamel and lacquered with a high-gloss finish. A durable copper tip protects the end.

Cushion your step in these comfortable men’s walking shoes, made with patented shock absorbing technology that actually stores and returns energy with every step. The culmination of years of research by a team of mechanical engineers, podiatrists, and industrial designers, the sole of each shoe houses a unique biomechanical system that absorbs the shock of each heel strike and converts the force into positive energy propelling you forward. These extra-comfy shoes are available for ladies as well.

Track your progress with this matchbook-thin pedometer. Less than 0.2″ thick, the pedometer stores comfortably in any shirt or pants pocket and counts your steps without impeding daily activities. The device tracks steps taken, distance, calories burned, and time spent moving. It stores up to one million steps with its seven-day memory, and has an integrated clock and timer.

A daily walk is very beneficial to your health. It can trim your waistline, help manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your overall mood. Start reaping these unique gifts today—go take a hike!

Nature Abhors a Vacuum, But Not a Good Spring Cleaning

Recently, we suggested several unique gifts to help simplify your indoor spring cleaning. Today, we have a number of unique gift ideas to make outdoor clean-up less of a chore, too.

After the late-winter snows that blanketed much of the nation, your garden, patio, lawn and other exterior areas are more than ready for a spring clean-up. Don’t dread the task: think of it as a way to get longed-for time outdoors. Here, we’ll help make it easier:

Let’s start with this electric power washer – it cleaned more effectively and was the easiest to use in side-by-side tests conducted by The Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. In comparison tests, The Best model removed the most paint from a cement brick, scoured mud from a car rim in only 22 seconds, and cleaned dirt and mold from aluminum siding faster than all other units. Analysts also deemed this power washer the simplest model to use among all tested. 

Imagine how quickly you could clean winter’s grime from your driveway, pool deck, tennis court or garage floor with this extra wide water broom. Seven threaded brass nozzles maintain strong, uniform spray at a constant height for even water distribution. It washes away dirt across a 3′ wide swath, while using only 1/10th the water of a standard garden hose. The swivel rubber casters make it easy to maneuver. 

Out in the yard, bushes and hedgerows are primed for a pruning. This cordless hedge trimmer lets you shape hedges up to 10′ tall while you stand safely on the ground. The shaft adjusts telescopically and locks in place at any length up to 10′ long and the head tilts 135° for easy trimming of hedges of nearly any shape or size. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery eliminates the hassle of running extension cords.

If you still need incentive to get your home’s exterior spiffed up for the season, just remember it’s the first impression visitors get. So it behooves you to clean the cobwebs, wash the windows, touch up the trim, and prune the plants. Then you’ll be ready to enjoy nature’s unique gifts of spring.

Spring Cleaning Needn’t Be a Chore

At long last, today we mark the first full day of spring! We are prone to favor the unique gifts of this season and have been counting down the days for several weeks now.

As much as spring is welcomed, it brings on two less-welcomed inevitabilities: taxes and the need for a good spring cleaning, both indoors and out. We can’t assist you on the tax front, but we do have several unique gifts designed to help simplify a deep spring cleaning.

This lightweight backpack vacuum, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, turns a physically demanding chore into an activity as effortless as walking. Unlike heavy and awkward traditional vacuums, the backpack vacuum’s compact 10-lb. canister stays flush against the user’s body and its hose can be switched for left- or right-hand use. A four-stage HEPA filter removes springtime allergens, too.

This steam mop sanitizes floors yet leaves them dry and ready to walk on seconds after cleaning. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, the mop has a powerful 1,200-watt pressurized boiler that emits a dry steam to kill germs and bacteria, and remove dirt…and it evaporates in seconds. An included attachment cleans and deodorizes carpets, too.

As the weather changes, creepy-crawlies might find their way into your home. Here’s the perfect unique gift for arachnophobes: The Best Bug Vacuum. This handheld cordless vacuum 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 nearly five times more airflow than lesser vacuums to draw in flies, bees, spiders, and other insects while keeping them at arm’s length and killing them instantly.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the inside of your home, don’t neglect the yard, decks, and patios outside. Next time, we’ll tell you about some unique gifts to will help you get your outdoor areas ready for the warm days ahead.