Wet and Wild Watercraft that Wow

Make quite a splash! Hammacher Schlemmer is proud to feature some of the most extreme watercraft you’ll find anywhere. Unlike common motorboats, these marvelous amphibious vehicles deliver the unique gift of speedy travel over water in amazing and unexpected ways.

11933_300x300This flying hovercraft glides over land and water yet also soars in the air up to 70 mph with the aid of integrated wings. Operating in fresh- or saltwater and up to 30% inclines over most terrain, its wings and horizontal elevator enable pilots to simply hop over water- or land-based obstacles unsurmountable to a typical hovercraft.

11990_300x300Heads will be turning at the sight of this streamlined, two-person watercraft that breaches and submerges just like Orca, the killer whale. A pilot, protected beneath a watertight acrylic canopy, pushes and pulls twin control levers to articulate the whale’s pectoral fins for rolls and dives. It can hydroplane up to 50 mph over the water’s surface and it can cruise up to 25 mph while submerged.

12533_300x300This amphibious ATV is the world’s first high-speed all-terrain vehicle that travels both over the land and water at up to 45 mph. Upon entering the water, its retraction system raises the wheels above the waterline to enable smooth waterborne riding in less than five seconds. The engine’s power automatically transfers to a jet drive that propels the craft to planing speed in seconds while the handle bars provide easy maneuvering over the water.

And for those who prefer the head-turning value of a unique gift over speed, this dr18718_300x300agon pedal boat recalls a visit to the amusement park with a leisurely day of fun for up to two adults. Rising like a serpent six feet above the water’s surface, its statuesque form guarantees attention from other boaters, while its quiet, human-powered operation ensures a pleasurable time on the water.

Banish Summer Boredom with Busy-ness

Just as there’s no crying in baseball, there should be no boredom in summer. And to that point, July is National Anti-Boredom Month.

We adults never get bored in summer. There’s always a way to put to use nature’s unique gifts of warmth and sunshine…a lawn to be mowed, a car to be washed, and if we’re lucky, a book to be read under a tree. We’ll fill every minute of these long summer days.

Kids are another story. Without the diversions of school and homework, with friends away at camp or visiting relatives, many a child has complained during summer break that there’s nothing to do. We have some suggestions for summer child’s play, items that would make for much-appreciated unique gifts for any child and their harried parents. 87067_300x300

Fight a tween’s or teen’s ennui with a new variation of a sport they likely already love. The Sidewinding Circular Skates are propelled by leaning side to side, letting the rider glide along as if riding a skateboard without pushing off the ground. Since the wheels are not connected, riders can easily perform 720° spins and turn on a dime. The skates include a connector rod that helps shorten the learning curve for using these unusual skates.

A whole gaggle of younger kids can be kept busy with this airplane-shaped teeter totter that holds up to seven children at once. A child at each wingtip provides the up-and-down rocking motion. A full flight adds three children sitting in the fuselage with one on each stabilizer at the tail – at its maximum capacity of 600 lbs., the teeter totter remains perfectly balanced. 84057_300x300

Finally, because every summer includes some rainy days, may we suggest Kitchen Table Tennis. Not only does this set include everything you need to turn a dining table or kitchen island into a playing surface, it also reverses to reveal chess, checkers and backgammon boards.

When a Pain in the Head is a Pain in the Neck

The World Health Organization estimates that half to three quarters of adults aged 18 – 65 years in the world have had headache in the last year. Besides the enormous cost to society  in lost productivity, any headache that forces you to curtail your activities is more than a headache; it’s a real pain in the neck.

Over-the-counter medications often bring the unique gift of sweet relief. Today, there are also a variety of prescription medications that can help prevent recurring migraines. For many folks, however, studies have shown that a drug-free approach can alleviate up to 87% of headache occurrences.83951_300x300

Many a headache has been caused by eye strain. Make sure you’re working under adequate lighting and eliminate any glare. If you do get an eye-strain-induced headache, this massage mask uses mist, vibration and warmth to relax and soothe the eyes. Its integrated massager pulses to alleviate eye fatigue with gentle vibration that relaxes and calms.84087_300x300 87478_300x300

A professional massage focusing on pressure points in the neck and shoulders can be a unique gift for a sufferer of tension headaches. For a pressure point treatment that you can have at your beck and call this headache reliever targets key points in the head and neck. The embedded therapy balls apply an even pressure on the sub-occipital muscles at the base of the skull. It can be placed in the freezer for cold therapy that helps numb pain and contracts throbbing blood vessels. Also employing the unique gifts of cold therapy, our Superior Headache Relieving Wrap uses cool gel packs to provide relief.

If you have sinus headaches brought on by changes in weather or seasonal allergies, regular use of decongestants and anti-histamines can help. A hot, steamy shower may also ease the pain.

Lastly, if you experience an unusually severe headache or your headaches are increasing in duration, severity or frequency, contact your doctor. It may be the sign of a more serious condition.

Distinguished Award Salutes Aviation’s Heroes

What better time than the week of Independence Day to think about some of our greatest national heroes, our military veterans.

On this day in 1926, the Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Congress as a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguished himself or herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Thus, it is America’s oldest military aviation award and as a unique gift of recognition, it is the only medal conferred by all five military services, in all wars and campaigns from World War I to the present.

Among those who have received the honor are Charles Lindbergh, Commander Richard Byrd, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, George H.W. Bush, Amelia Earhart. and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Earhart and the Wright Brothers are among the few non-military persons to ever receive the medal, as an executive order in 1927 decreed the Cross should not be conferred on civilians.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society was founded in 1994 to bring together those who have received this honor. Currently, there are about 6,000 members, with 23 chapters nationwide.

42914_300x300As you plan your July 4th festivities, please take a few moments to reflect on those who have served our country. May we suggest The Army Air Corps Leather Flight Jacket as an ideal and unique gift to honor a special veteran in your life? First issued to the U.S. Army aviators in 1931 and worn by flight crews throughout World War II, the A-2 flight jacket was reissued by the U.S. Air Force in 1987. It is presented in our signature gift box, making it a perfect way to say “thank you”.

12628_300x300Aviation buffs would love to receive The New York Times History of Aviation. Procured from the archives of The Times, the book presents highlights that span from the momentous first flight of the Wright Brothers to Charles Lindbergh, the first man to make a transatlantic flight and land safely. The book also chronicles Amelia Earhart, the first woman to cross the Atlantic, and her subsequent disappearance in the Pacific, a mystery to this day, but one that continues to unveil new clues even today.

11803E_300x300And finally, for those who are not pilots but have an urge to experience the unique gift of flight nonetheless, we present this genuine Cockpit Flight Simulator. It equips players with the same flight controls found in actual aircraft. Movement of the yoke controls pitch and roll just like real airplanes. Thrust levers and dual rudder pedals control realistic throttle and yaw.

Shake Summer Thirst and Beat the Heat

The peak of summer has arrived. Though many parts of the country have been logging below-normal temperatures this season, hot times and summer in the city are sure to hit us all soon. Here are some unique gifts that will help you keep your cool and stay hydrated with icy beverages.

84432_300x300On the warmest days, you’ll delight kids and adults alike with this machine that makes carnival-worthy snow cones. Its stainless steel blades automatically shave ice cubes into thin, fluffy slivers that, topped with your favorite flavored syrup or beverage, make for a refreshing treat.

76682_300x300Sweet tea is favored for its ice-cold sweetness on sweltering summer days. Our iced tea brewing machine makes up to two quarts of this iconic Dixieland refreshment that originated in the late 19th century. The brewer automatically steeps tea at the proper temperature for optimal flavor extraction and adds your preferred amount of sugar.

11255_300x300Somehow, soft drinks always seem colder out of an old-fashioned soda chest. This authentically detailed replica of the Westinghouse Junior Coca-Cola cooler combines all the hallmarks of the original with modern refrigeration technology. The side-mounted bottle opener and cap catcher, swiveling wheels, and lid chain recall the ubiquitous self-serve chests favored by mom-and-pop stores in the 1930s. The interior holds up to 80 12-oz. cans or 60 8-oz. bottles of your preferred beverage.

Once you have that Coke in hand, you’ll want it to stay cold. We offer several styles of chill-maintaining glassware. The double-walled glasses have a viscous cooling liquid between both layers that freezes in one hour, enabling the glasses to keep a beverage chilled between 32° F and 36° F for 30 minutes or chill a room-temperature libation to 36° F in just 2.5 minutes. These hand-blown glasses would make an ideal and unique gift for a housewarming or as a hostess gift for any summer party.

So enjoy these hot days while we have them. Keeping a cold drink close at hand will help you feel more comfortable all summer long.

Simple Tips for the Best Backyard BBQ

On the subject of friendly neighborhood competitions, the question came up on how to throw a better backyard barbecue.

There are fundamentals that should be observed, of course. If you’re serving steaks, buy the best cut you can afford. Better yet, grill a roast. A simple formula of 15 minutes per pound will yield a beautiful medium-rare presentation, and you can relax a bit and enjoy your guests and the unique gifts of their camaraderie while the meat cooks.

79824_300x300The flavor of your roast, as well as pretty much any meat, fish or fowl, can be made even better with smoke. This wood chip smoker box generates taste-enhancing smoke without producing flames, resulting in a more concentrated, robust flavor.

Try not to use lighter fluid to avoid a chemical after-taste on the food. If you’re using charcoal instead of a gas grill, light the coals using a chimney-style starter. Not only will the food taste better, this method is better for the environment, too.

86925_300x300To keep uncooked meats chilled till the coals are ready or to keep cold side dishes chilled until serving time, this food-chilling platter is ideal for BBQs, buffets, or picnics. The unit’s removable stainless steel platter is chilled by an included freezer pack that keeps cold meats, cheeses, hors d’oeuvres, sushi, or desserts chilled below 45° F for 50 minutes. Its plastic lid ensures protection from insects both indoors and out.

To throw a great backyard barbecue, you’ll need plenty of ice on hand for drinks and coolers. This portable ice maker earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most efficient at producing ice. This model’s 1.8 lbs.-per-hour output was 80% more efficient than other models. The Best model also produced its first batch of clear, well-formed cubes in just under 10 81846A_300x300minutes.

Finally, make sure your guests won’t be eaten alive by mosquitoes. The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap lures pesky skeeters within one-acre by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration. You can give your friends and family the unique gift of an evening under the stars, without the next day’s itchy reminders of uninvited flying pests.

Let the Mid-Summer Games Begin!

At last, summer has arrived! Celebrate these mid-summer nights with bacchanalian block parties, bonfires, and friendly competitions among family, friends, and neighbors. With our unique gift ideas, you can plan a neighborhood competition on a grand scale: your block vs. the next street over. Here are some truly different ideas to help you “settle the score” with as much fun as possible.12120_300x300

This inflatable human bowling game challenges players to assume the “roll” of the ball in knocking down a set of pins. A player simply runs forward inside the 7-foot ball, generating momentum to knock over six foam pins that yield easily at the point of collision.

12683_300x300Buy the world’s longest backyard water slide and you’ll get a 76′-long slipping, sloshing ride for children and adults. Buy two and you can have downhill, side-by-side wet slide races. Available only from Hammacher Schlemmer, three inflatable segments fit together to form a run that works optimally on declines when a garden hose wets the slide. The slider is deposited at the end of a run into a 10′-long catch pool, which can be left off when the run ends in a lake or pond.

12412_300x300Should the whole neighborhood turn out, you may need extra seats. This is the inflatable outdoor sofa that provides instant, comfortable seating for up to 30 guests. The sofa inflates via the included air pump in just minutes and provides a firm yet comfortable place for party goers to relax and converse during a block party, family reunion or a Gatsbyesque summer soiree.

12110_300x300As evening falls, party-goers can gather ‘round this handcrafted replica of the fire pit displayed at the Athletes’ Village during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The distinctive globe-shaped design, with cutouts in the shapes of the continents, evokes the international spirit of the Olympics and served as a gathering place for competitors from around the world. It makes a great centerpiece for awarding medals to your block party games’ winners or for the presentation of unique gifts to the neighbors.

Banish Bugs with the Three “B”s

The summer’s storm season has renewed its annual deluge of rainfall nationwide—a unique gift of nature for most, but sometimes a harbinger of pesky mosquitoes for others.

If sharing your space or your life-giving bodily fluids with biting insects is a turn-off, there are three ways to combat these flying pests: block them, bait them, or blast them!

87255_300x300Blocking these determined blood suckers offers the most gentle approach, so we offer these unique gifts for those who feel that insects need to eat, too. One can seek refuge within The Mosquito Thwarting Hammock, an enclosure that fits over an integrated hammock and allows cross breezes to keep you cool while mosquitoes are losing theirs, unable to access your person. For the active gardener or mosquito-season outdoors adventurer, we offer mosquito thwarting apparel made from 1.2-mm netting that blocks pests without the need for harmful chemicals.

81846_300x300Those who prefer a more passive-aggressive approach may consider The One Acre Natural Attractant Mosquito Trap, which lures mosquitoes within one-acre by emitting heat, odorless carbon dioxide (the same gas people expel during respiration) and light. When mosquitoes are drawn inside, they die of dehydration.

87134_300x300When one will not countenance the wearing of nets nor suffer the fixture of a trap in the yard, we offer perhaps the most unique gift for the would-be mosquito slayer: The Bug Blasting Blunderbuss. It requires a steady aim (as well as the unshakable trust of one onto whom an insect has alighted), but if delivered within two feet, the salty discharge from this skeeter scattergun will obliterate even those species rumored to stand flat-footed at 3′-tall.

Blocking, bait, or blasting — these three methods and the products that provide them will at least create the perception that you have taken the annual mosquito abatement chore seriously.

Let’s Go Al Fresco

This Thursday, June 18, the world celebrates International Picnic Day.

In Medieval times, outdoor feasts were held to celebrate a successful hunt, but the picnic as we know it is believed to have begun in France in 1789 after the French Revolution opened the royal gardens to the public for the first time. The pastime grew in popularity during the Victorian Era in England.

What better way to celebrate this centuries-old tradition than by planning some summer picnics of your own? We have suggestions for accessories that would make great additions to your own picnic or as unique gifts for friends and family for al fresco dining.

84580_300x300This is the picnic caddy so thorough in its devotion to an elegant picnic that even the Royal family owns a pair. Whether preparing an outdoor feast during one’s annual foray to Balmoral Castle, or simply planning a gourmet meal to enjoy the unique gifts of a concert in the park, this caddy’s three cylindrical modules provide easy transport and secure housing for four included place settings, and the food for a perfect repast.

11679_300x300Don’t let too much sun spoil the day. This portable canopy clamps to any rectangular wooden table and provides up to 75′ sq. of shade. Made from a durable polyester fabric, the canopy filters the sun’s UV rays and provides reliable shelter from rain. The entire unit folds to fit into the included duffel bag.

12617_300x300Imagine what your friends will say when you pull up to the picnic on this rideable, three-wheeled cooler! A 1,000-watt electric motor propels the cooler up to 12 mph, allowing you to transport chilled food or beverages up to 10 miles. The handlebars have a throttle and a brake lever for confident stops, starts, and acceleration, while the pneumatic tires provide traction on gravel or pavement.

The summer season will be over before you know it, so start planning a unique gift for your family, a day of picnic-style dining in the great outdoors.

Dad’s Day Gift Ideas for the Frugal Offspring

Father’s Day is almost here…we honor the old man on June 21. If you find yourself short on money this year, we are here to help with ideas for unique gifts for him, all priced at $100 or less.

At only about $100, we guarantee there’s not another gift out there exactly like this one: this is the personalized reproduction of 12324_300x300The New York Times issue from the day dad was born. The newspaper is reprinted, complete with that day’s headlines, stories, photos and ads, in a traditionally bound book that displays the recipient’s name, “The New York Times”, and the date stamped in gold on the burgundy leatherette cover.

12597A_300x300Both the NBA and the NHL are wrapping up their seasons with exciting final championship series. Any sports fanatic father would love a personalized locker room print that shows his own stall, complete with a name plate, jersey and equipment bearing his name and favorite number. His jersey will hang forever next to the uniforms of two players from the current roster, providing visual evidence of his working relationship with Lebron James or Patrick Kane. Whether dad prefers hockey, basketball, baseball, or football, this unique gift is available for only about $90.

84767_300x300This year, Father’s Day coincides with the first day of summer…the season for both golf and BBQs. If you know a dad who loves both, The Golfer’s Grill Clubs feature grilling utensils with authentic golf club grips that ensure a confident hold while flipping lamb chops or turning a swordfish steak. The tools store in a woven nylon 14″-high golf bag, allowing his caddy to carry the clubs with ease.

Finally, if you’re as short on time as you are on cash, a Hammacher Schlemmer gift certificate allows Dad to choose his own gift. Available in denominations from $25 to $200, a gift certificate is always the right size and can be redeemed online, through our catalog, or in our New York City store.