Unique Gifts of Light and Time

iPhone WatchSome folks love it, others curse it…but there’s no denying that the move to Daylight Savings Time this weekend capitalizes on one of Nature’s unique gifts: the lengthening of the days that comes with spring.

In the U.S., DST has been around since 1918 when it was established as a fuel-conservation measure during the First World War. It was largely unpopular and as a result, after the war Congress abolished DST on a federal level, although states had the option to observe the time change.

Year-round DST, called “War Time,” was implemented in 1942, again to save fuel during WWII. After the war, from 1945 and until 1966, there was no federal DST and localities could choose when and if to turn the clocks ahead or back. Confusion in the transportation industry led to federal regulation and the Uniform Time Act of 1966. Through the following years, the dates to begin and end DST changed based on issues such as the 1973 oil embargo and amendments to the Uniform Time Act. In 2007, most of the country moved to the dates we have today: Daylight Savings Time begins the second Sunday every March and ends the first Sunday in November.

With all this changing does anybody really know what time it is? To help those confused by this weekend’s time change, we have several watches that make unique gifts for special someone, or perhaps yourself.

One of our favorites is The Voice Command Smartphone Watch. This is the only watch that relays voice commands to a smart phone, even when buried in a purse or tucked in a pocket. The watch appears to be a classic analog design, but a discreet speaker and microphone transform it into a one-touch communication hub on the wrist. Using Bluetooth 4.0, the watch acts as liaison with an Android or iPhone for calls and texts. The watch also features a “leash” function to alert users if the phone has been left behind.

And the Award Goes To…

82nd Annual Academy Awards - "Meet The Oscars" New YorkWhether you get your movies from a big screen, an Internet stream, or a red box, the Academy Awards remains the premiere event for fans and celebrity watchers alike. Over the years, Hammacher Schlemmer has been delighted to collaborate with a number of Academy Award winners in the making of their films.

For his 1972 movie Frenzy, legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, a stickler for details, required a knife as a prop in a key scene. Naturally, he sent for a set of Hammacher Schlemmer German stainless steel knives, for which we received a personal letter of thanks.

On another occasion, Hammacher Schlemmer’s New York store played a supporting role in the film of an Oscar-winning actor, albeit early in his career. In a scene from the 1990 movie Joe Versus the Volcano, the title character played by Tom Hanks is outfitted at our landmark Manhattan store before embarking on an exotic, life-altering trip. Despite a big budget and a star-laden cast, Joe was a box-office dud that received mixed reviews and not a single Academy Award nomination. Such are the vagaries of show business.

Gifts for Grandpa That Reflect – and Enhance – His True Style

Today’s grandfathers want to be on the move with sharp looks, smart style and sophistication. When shopping for gifts for Grandpa, you may want to put aside ideas that suggest a quiet, sedentary lifestyle.

The Best Gentleman’s FoilBest Foil Shaver Shaver transforms Grandpa into the smoothest operator in the stag line at the cocktail ball. This foil shaver earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it produced the closest, most comfortable shave. The Best model’s foils generate subtle vibrations that lift hair follicles and enable the five blades (the most in the industry) to cut as close as a barber’s straight razor.

Send the butler home; Grandpa has his favorite dinner jacket steamed tight with crisp points and lapels easily done with The Best Garment Steamer. This garment steamer was rated The Best by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it removed wrinkles the fastest and was easiest to operate, smoothing a woolen suit jacket almost 2X faster than lesser steamers and taking 30% less time to remove the wrinkles from a cotton button-down shirt.

How to complete the polished look of a gentleman? With gifts for Grandpa that show off his flair for stylish dressing, such as The Packable Panama Hat. This hat will top his outfit in the heat of a tropical sun. It can be easily packed into a suitcase, yet the fibers’ unique woven pattern allows the hat to spring back to its original shape. It’s a grandad gift of pure, cool class.

Move over Mr. Bond. Today’s grandfather wants to be the most interesting man at the soirée. Get-togethers at his house take on their own life with The Light Show Music Player. This portable music player puts on a dazzling light show as Grandpa listens to his favorite songs. While music plays through the 3″ stereo speakers, the mirrored front emits brilliant colored starbursts that flare and sparkle in an ever-changing random pattern. The compact unit connects to virtually any audio source, from a smartphone, MP3 player, computer, USB flash drive or SD memory card. It will be a night to remember with hearts taken in style, thanks to the natural charm of granpa’s gifts.

Unique Gifts for Dad Show Off Your Shopping Prowess

What do you get for the dad who has everything? Another box of golf balls, the same thing you gave him for his last birthday, for Father’s Day, and for Christmas? It’s time to think out of the box, so to speak, and consider some truly unique gifts for dad.Unique Gifts for Dad Golf Map

The guy who has gone through all those golf balls might have had the good fortune to visit some of the country’s most famous courses. Dad can track the sites of his favorite links on this Golfer’s Personalized Travel Map. This wall map charts the premiere U.S. public golf courses he has played and the ones he wants to visit. Color-coded pins mark the courses he has played, his most recent conquest, his next destination, and his favorite course. The mahogany-framed map features a metal plaque that can be personalized with up to 50 characters.

In the unique gifts for dad category there are “good dad gifts” and there are “great dad gifts”, but one of the best we’ve found is The Executive’s iPad Folio. At about $100, it’s affordable, it’s everyday useful, and it’s good-looking (just like Dad). The zippered top-grain leather folio protects a tablet and contains a removable writing pad and inner compartments for office essentials such as cell phones, eyeglasses, business cards, receipts, and cords. An integral easel stand allows the tablet to be propped up for desktop display.

The best unique gifts for dad are those he will use all the time…and think about you every time he sees it. Odds are, he will look at The World’s Thinnest Calendar Watch dozens of times every day. Measuring only 1/4″ thick, the watch face fits comfortably under sleeves and gloves and it weighs merely one ounce. The watch is the product of five years of research and design by German engineers and Swiss watchmakers who collaborated to put intricate mechanical clock movement into such a slim watch face. Plated in 18k gold, with a sapphire stone embedded into the crown, this watch reflects the good taste Dad raised you to have.

Portable iPhone Charger Gives Batteries A Boost

When you want to charge a purchase, you pull out your wallet. Now, you can pull out your wallet to charge your smartphone, too.

Wallet Phone ChargerThis unique and stylish leather wallet includes a portable iPhone charger built right in. The 680 mAh rechargeable battery provides up to two hours of additional talk time and is integrated into one panel of the billfold. The buttery-soft calfskin wallet has six interior slots that hold up to nine cards, a full-length bill compartment, and a snap fastener. The portable iPhone charger can be powered again in 30 minutes via the included micro-USB adapter.

Don’t be caught without power when you need it most. This wallet is ideal to have in your back pocket anywhere in the world and helps provide peace of mind when you’re on the road. Available with your choice of a portable iPhone charger or a portable Android charger.

This wallet is not the only unique device we have to charge your phone. If you’re looking to go green, our Rapid Solar iPhone Charger can recharge an iPhone from zero to full capacity 2.8 times, using only the energy of the sun. It comes with seven adapters for powering virtually any smartphone, e-reader, camera, or an iPad. And with only 12 hours of full sunlight, it’s ready to go again.

Happy 175th, Mr. Hammacher.

1839_HS_HistoryTomorrow marks the 175th birthday of the man who lent his name to our company almost 150 years ago. On February 16, 1839 Albert Hammacher was born in Leichlingen, a farming community in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. As the story goes, in 1859 Mr. Hammacher was introduced to Charles Tollner, owner of a thriving New York City hardware store, by one of its employees and a fellow countryman, William Schlemmer. Mr. Hammacher was prevailed upon to invest $5,000 in the business, which was apparently enough to warrant the company to rename itself C. Tollner and A. Hammacher. (How the 20-year-old came into such a large sum—almost $150,000 in today’s money—remains a mystery.)

Two years later, Mr. Tollner left the business, prompting another name change, to A. Hammacher, and it remained so until 1867. That year Mr. Schlemmer and several others were admitted as partners, resulting in the addition of “& Co.” By 1883, Mr. Schlemmer had acquired a majority of the business and the company’s name became the familiar-and-fun-to-pronounce moniker we are known by today, Hammacher Schlemmer & Co. From all indications, although he was listed as a vice president, Mr. Hammacher, who also owned a hardware business in Germany, did not take an active role in the company’s day-to-day operations. In 1899, he left the business and was replaced by William Schlemmer’s son, William F. Schlemmer. Mr. Hammacher eventually returned to Germany where he lived his final days, passing away on January 12, 1912. But his name, like the company, endures.

Show Your Heart Some Love and Keep Blood Pressure in Check

Ah, Valentine’s Day…when a young man’s fancy turns to love. Among those of us who are more mature, however, matters of the heart often involve a visit to a cardiologist.

Much is known today about the relationship between high blood pressure and risk factors for heart disease. Only a doctor should diagnose hypertension, but the patient can track his or her own blood pressure levels by using a home blood pressure monitor.

The best blood pressure monitorbest-blood-pressure-monitor we’ve found for home use earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it was the most accurate and was one of the easiest to operate in comparison tests. The monitors’ systolic and diastolic readings were compared to those taken by a cardiology nurse, and The Best model displayed a 94% accuracy rate—the highest of any blood pressure monitor. It automatically illuminates when the device is held at heart level—the ideal position for accurate readings. Panelists lauded The Best model’s automatic inflating cuff because it “felt nice around the wrist and was easy to put on.”

Exercise is also key to keeping blood pressure in check. Many folks are better able to stick to their exercise goals when varying their routines to avoid boredom. Try walking a few days a week and biking another day or two. Having your own equipment at home to exercise indoors during bad weather, at night, or whenever the mood strikes also increases your chance for success.

The Virtual Reality Treadmill keeps your routine interesting by adjusting its incline to simulate the terrain you’re watching on a television. The included video player transmits first-person, high-definition video of trails, hills, and city streets in the majestic landscapes of northern Italy and the southwestern United States to your TV.

Some find space is at a premium when equipping a home gym. The Foldaway Recumbent Exercise Bicycle folds in seconds to half its set-up size for unobtrusive storage under a bed or in a closet. This recumbent model encourages users to sit upright and pedal with correct spinal posture. The bicycle has an LCD for simple navigation of workout menus, displaying your heart rate, exercise time, speed, calories burned and distance traveled, and the bicycle’s resistance adjusts at the turn of a knob.

If you haven’t been active, increasing your exercise level can help lower your blood pressure in a matter of a few weeks. Set your goal, stick with it, and track your progress with your blood pressure monitor.

Unique Gifts for Him Make for a Memorable Valentine’s Day

Shop for a Valentine’s Day gift for a woman and find a world of choice. Shopping for
unique gifts for him presents more challenge. A gift for him is something he wants more than needs. Something that makes a statement. Something he wouldn’t necessarily buy for himself.

A great choice would be an item that makes his phone or tablet even more useful, such as The Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker. This portable speaker was deemed The Best by the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because it provides the highest quality sound in every genre of music. Institute analysts found the long-range speaker maintained the connection and clear sound 228′ away, unlike lesser units that dropped the connection only 30′ from the source.night-vision-camera-watch

Perhaps the man in your life is a gadget lover who harbors a secret fantasy to be James Bond. Unique gifts for him could include those that take pictures and records video even in total darkness such as The Night Vision Camera Watch. Pictures (JPEGs) and videos (AVI) are stored on its built-in 8 GB flash memory and downloaded to a computer simply using a USB cable.

The aspiring mixologist may appreciate The Best Blender. This blender earned The Best rating from the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute because of its effectiveness and the speed with which it crushed ice and blended fruit and vegetables. The Best Blender outperformed other models that cost many times more, thanks to six blades (the most of any blender) positioned at the bottom, middle, and top of the pitcher.

And if your guy is counting the days till he can get back on the golf course, he can keep his putting skills up to par with The Handcrafted Adjustable Putting Green. This 10-foot long furniture-quality indoor putting green lets golfers adjust the break to help improve their short game. The solid hardwood base can be angled with a twist of a knob to allow golfers to practice left- or right-handed breaks.

After all, ladies, isn’t your guy one-of-a-kind? Hammacher Schlemmer has unique gifts for him that say you think so, on Valentine’s Day, and everyday.

Let Your Smart Phone Leave the Light on for You

As the taxi drives away, whisking one to the airport for much-needed R&R in warmer climes, who hasn’t had a nagging thought: “Did I turn off the TV? Is the timer for the light set?”

Those days are now a thing of the past, thanks to The Smartphone Light And Appliance Controller. This complete remote-controlled system includes a plug-in dimmer for a lamp, a wall dimmer for a ceiling fixture, a plug-in on/off switch for a single appliance such as a TV or stereo, and a base station that communicates with each through your home’s existing Wi-Fi network. An app downloaded to an iPhone or Android smartphone provides access to the base station for adjustiApp Controlled Power Outlet ng each device’s brightness and timer settings—ideal for implying one’s presence in the home while away.

Enthusiasm for home management via smartphone is growing as more apps are developed. Aside from turning the lights on and off, controller systems and the complementary apps enable the user to interface with the furnace and air conditioner to ensure comfort on arrival, while saving energy when no one is home. Some systems learn your habits over time and can be set to make the adjustments automatically.

One of the increasingly popular ways to control your home via smartphone uses Internet-connected door locks that eliminate the need to hide a spare key under the welcome mat. With one of these systems, you can monitor when your children return from school or open the door remotely for a repairman or cleaning service.

You can also use your smartphone to keep an eye that repairman once he’s in the house or to check on your pets during the day. Small, wireless cameras can be set unobtrusively on a shelf or bookcase to monitor your house over your phone. Some systems even let you pan, tilt, or zoom the camera remotely.

Appliance makers are now manufacturing refrigerators, ovens, and more with smart capabilities already included and many new homes are being built ready for remote automation, but for now, for most of us, the smartphone leads the way.

Beatles U.S. Invasion Like Nothing Before

1962_Extraordinary2On this day in 1964, Pan Am flight 101 from London, whose passengers included an up-and-coming band from Liverpool, touched down at New York’s JFK Airport at 1:20 p.m.  The Beatles arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago created pandemonium the likes of which had never been seen and ignited a musical revolution that came to be known as “The British Invasion”. Though we cannot say for certain whether John, George, Paul, or Ringo paid a visit to our Manhattan store during this trip, somehow the Boys learned of our “Nothing Box”—a small box with two rows of lights on its side that did nothing but flash in a random sequence until its battery ran out. (It was subsequently rechristened “The Something Box” to avoid confusion with a similarly named product.) This must have appealed to the Fab Four’s well-known dry sense of humor, because they purchased hundreds of Hammacher Schlemmer’s Nothing Boxes as gifts.

One generation removed, the 60’s-era Nothing Box bears scant resemblance to its modern descendent The Illumicube. IllumicubeThis clear acrylic cube has an array of 64 multi-colored LEDs that systematically flash in millions of different combinations, producing a mesmerizing light show. Many of our customers tell us they also use it as a nightlight. For those who prefer a multi-media experience, we recommend The Musical iPhone Illumisphere. Paired wirelessly to a smartphone, this geodesic dome plays music through its integrated speakers while multi-colored LEDs create a psychedelic light show in synch with your audio tracks. Sgt. Pepper’s anyone?