Gadgetry v1.3

A functional and fictional device.

About Colophon Data Decades Graphics


1880s 1890s 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

, 1930. “What do you think pleases my guests the most?’ Lewis asked. After my tour of bewildering wonders I hesitated. The engineer smiled and pointed to a shiny metal gadget on the wall. ‘That little twenty-five-cent bottle opener and corkscrew, combined, makes more of a hit, if you’ll believe it, than some of our most ambitious engineering schemes. They think it’s wonderful, and ask where they can buy one like it or whether they can have an extra one as a souvenir. That’s human nature, I guess. The average man, when he turns on a light or opens a radiator valve, doesn’t think of the power plant below that supplies him light and heat. There’s far more to running a hotel than one ever sees in a guest room.’”

, 1930. “What’s that? said a St. Louis banker. Peel potatoes with a crank! It’s absolutely incredible. Just another inventor’s crazy pipe-dream. Why, I know a lot of women who would pay you ten dollars a piece for such a gadget and figure they had a bargain.”

, 1930. “Say, here’s another glass gadget… Right! The Vivo Tube, for fainting and insect bites, isn’t the only ‘glass gadget’ in the Official First Aid Kit. Take a look at the Mercurochrome Swab. It’s a little glass tube with a brush on the end. Break the tip inside the brush–out comes mercurochrome, an antiseptic.”

, 1930. “But women are becoming more practical, and they have the advantage over men of knowing what is wanted in the sphere of domestic inventions. Every housewife is an inventor, because almost day of her life, she is making something new or devising some gadget.”

MacDowell, Syl, 1930. “The Old Man was at dinner. When about to work on a plate of salad, he jabbed his fork against something that clinked. He growled and fished out a brass disk about the size of an English shilling. He slammed the thing on the tablecloth and stare at it until his eyeballs almost popped out. Then he roared: ‘Boy! Boy!’ Cato came on the lope from the pantry. ‘What,’ demanded the Admiral, ‘is this gadget?’ Cato lenas over and spells out the words on the tag carefully. He’s a Filipino, just getting educated. ‘Hum,’ he finally said. ‘Look lak a dog-license, yessa!”

, 1930. “Can you get one and fit it to my car? The circular says it’s a new invention that will give twice as much mileage on the same gasoline and make the motor more powerful. … I’ve seen this one before. It’s a phoney gadget that doesn’t work. … Of course, they’d get better results by adjusting the carburetor for a leaner mixture without bothering with any extra gadget.”

, 1930. “The entire inventory of materials which C.A. Olson, Oakland Avenue, West­wood, New Jersey, used in making his mirror may be seen in the photograph reproduced below. With the exception of the pitch lap, a few chemicals used in silvering the glass, and other inexpensive gadgets, the whole array is of the kind that can be picked up around the average household and is typical of the kind used in telescope making. Note absence of tools; none are used.”

McHugh, F.D. et al., 1930. “In our July 1930 issue we described the very interesting experiments of Dr. Geer of Ithaca, whereby rubber, oil-impregnated airplane “overshoes” seem to have met the danger of ice formation. It still remains to be seen whether practical aviators will resort to these overshoes. Airmen have a horror of gadgets, and operators may fear that the added cost and a possible decrease in aerodynamic efficiency will be prohibitive. In the meantime it is the consensus that it is a very sound plan to warn the pilot that he is flying in a danger zone, namely where temperatures are between -4 degrees and 0 degrees, centigrade, and when he had better proceed to a zone of higher or lower temperatures.”

, 1930. “What my wife wanted was a place to hang brooms and mops, so I made the automatic holder illustrated, tested it, and triumphantly called her to behold a gadget that really works.”

, 1930. “Now we’ll give it a real good cleaning out, he said as he carried the radiator over to the washstand and attached a special fixture to the lower hose connection. What’s that gadget? Backson inquired. Latest thing to clean radiators, Gus replied. Water goes in the big pipe and the little one is connected to the air pressure line. Shooting the air in with the water in short bursts fills the radiator with a churning mixture of water and bubbles that loostens the sludge and rust lots better than the ordinary flushing out.”

Biggers, Earl Derr, 1930. “engineer came strolling along the deck. He paused at Charlie’s chair. “ About time for our tour of the engine room, Mr. Chan, “ he remarked. “ Ah, yes, “ returned the Chinese. “ You were kind enough to promise me that pleasure when we talked together last night. Captain Keane, I am sure, would enjoy to come along. “ He looked inquiringly at Keane. |p259The captain stared back, amazed. “ Me? Oh, no, thanks. I’ve no interest in engines. Wouldn’t know a gadget from a gasket. And care less. “ Charlie glanced up at the engineer. “ Thank you so much, “ he said. “ If you do not object, I will postponemy own tour. I desire short talk with Captain Keane. “ “ All right, “ nodded the engineer, and moved away. Chan was regarding Keane grimly. “ You know nothing about engines? “ he suggested. “ Certainly not. What are you getting at, anyhow? “ “ Some months ago”

Priestly, John, 1930. “it? Shut the door. “ He examined the card. “ Never heard of this chap. Look at this, Goath. Anybody you know? What does he want? “ “ Wanted to speak to you, sir, “ replied Stanley, looking very mysteriousand important, with a hint of the “ shadderer “ in his manner. “ Very important. That’s what he said. “ “ I’ll bet he did, “ said Mr. Dersingham, with a grin at the other two. “ Probably wants to sell me some ridiculous office gadget. If he did, though, he’d probably have something about it on his card. This is a private card. Golspie, Golspie? No, I don’t know him. Look here, Stanley, just tell him I’m having a discussion – no, a thingumty – a conference, just now, but if it’s something really important, not trying to sell me typewriters and files and muck, I’ll see him soon. He can either call again or he can wait”

Turner, George Kibbe, 1930. “on her dress. JOE (A command) I’m having this dance. YOUNG MANHey – cutting in don’t go here! JOE (emphatically) Screw – son! The young man sees that Joe means what he says and slinks away. JOE (to Kitty) I got a little job for you. KITTY (fearfully) What is it, Joe? JOE (pointing to pom-pom) We’re going to dance by Scar Sherman – and when we do, I want you to rub that scar with that gadget you’ve got there. KITTY (looks up at him, wondering if she can beg out) But, Joe – (The hard expression in his face tells her there is no chance to back out) Sure – I’ll do it. – 94 – JOERight. He puts his arm around her and whirls her off to the dance floor. 276. FULL SHOT DANCE FLOOR The six gorillas are now on the floor dancing with girls. They are forming a circle about Dan and”

Frisbie, Robert Dean, 1930. “have food that the skipper will cat without a growl, or else you gain the cook’s tolerance by letting him boil rice and open a tin of beef for dinner, and hear the skipper cursing all cooks and mates to Gehenna. Besides this, you have to navigate, which breaks up your morning watches below; and you have to sailorize when you should be pacing the deck, admiring the billowy ocean, and enjoying yourself as a chief officer should!’ Feeling much better after this, I gave the flywheel another turn, flipped the spark-plug gadget with my index finger, and to my surprise and consternation the thing started off with a terrible explosion of backfiring. With my heart in my mouth I jumped to the switch and turned it off. Then I climbed out of the engine room as nonchalantly as possible to tell, the Captain that I had just tuned up the machine and left it in fine running order. I heard you bombarding the settlement,’ Andy replied curtly, and returned to his work on the topmast gear. February 17”

Winton, Roy W., 1930. “There are other moveable parts to the camera but they stay put when you put ‘em and the machinery doesn’t affect them. If you want a full list of them here it is. I spoke of the spring that you must wind. Then you must set up your ‘finder,’ if it is exposed and not built-in. You must set your ‘diaphragm,’ or the light-regulating gadget in the lens. In some cases you must focus your lens. You must ‘press the button.’”

Sherwood, Robert E., 1930. “In the course of a post mortem on the late and generally lamented international yacht races, a London newspaper remarked that ‘British seamanship was defeated by Yankee gadgets.’ This referred, of course, to the fact that the ‘Enterprise’ used various mechanical labor-saving devices for the speedy raising and lower of sails, whereas the ‘Shamrock’ relied exclusively on old-fashioned elbow grease. / Hollywood’s position of leadership in the celluloid world is invariably attributed to the superiority of ‘Yankee gadgets’—the sound recording apparatus behind the greatest gadget of all. / There is plenty of truth in this. For this development of the purely mechanical part of film production in Hollywood has become one of the major miracles of history. If only some of the other departments had kept pace with this development . . . but there is no point in indulging in depressing and fruitless speculation. [. . . ] There has been much talk lately of the dreadful mechanical Robot that is ruining Art in our modern civilization. Our finer aesthetic sensibilities, we are told, are being mangled in the ruthless cog-wheels of the Machine Age. / Insofar as Hollywood is concerned, however, it is the Robot, the Spirit of the Gadget, that most nearly approaches that goal of perfection toward which all art strives. / How often do we see pictures in which the technical qualities—the photography, sound reproduction, mechanical effects—are inferior to the flesh, the blood and the grey matter? Almost never. For an excellent example of just what I mean, have a look at ‘Hell’s Angels.’”

Wilde, Perciva, 1931. “Slynes, Elkweather & Uffley Gadgets. It is attractively filled with gadgets (as well as widjums and whassats) in all colors. Perhaps it is as well to mention that these are irregularly shaped objects varying in size from that of a marble to that of a small boulder. Price tags are conspicuously attached to them as they await purchasers in the window. They are much sought after for gifts by persons who wish to be considered original.” (3) On Mr. Uffley’s disease: “What are leu- leucocytes?” “Leucocytes? A kind of gadget. Nothing but gadgets!” George Uffley takes pride in being able to draw gadgets, which his young son is working up to. gadgets numbered “Number C 75, Number S 8080, Number M 44.”

, 1931. “If technique is, as Mark Twain suggested, doing something simple in a complicated way, then a wrinkle suggests the reverse of this; that is, a simple method of doing something complicated. If a botanist requires several complex solutions to stain certain fibbers, that is technique. Another botanist’s suggestion that he would get the same result with a drop of marking ink is a wrinkle.”

, 1931. “One thing is certain: manufacturers of automobile accessories are going to be affected by the general trend toward complete equipment on the newer cars. No longer need the new·car buyer invest a substantial sum in heat indicators, mirrors, ash trays, air cleaners, oiling systems, and so on.They are all there when the car is delivered.On the other hand, those of us who have, of necessity or choice, to keep our old cars for another season, constitute a potential market for “gadgets” of various kinds that have been developed since our cars were made.”

, 1931. “There is no question but that the American working man is our biggest customer. He knows that his net income is very much higher under the high wage system than under the other; his percentage of “luxury” or “pleasure” cash is much greater under the former than under the latter. He has, accordingly adjusted his standard of living to a scale higher than Europeans know or have known. He has a car with all the necessary or foolish gadgets, a six- or eight- or ten-tube radio, good clothes, plenty of good food, and more comforts than a medieval king.”

, 1931. “We often wonder when Jackson Rose sleeps. Jack is one of Hollywood’s best known cameramen. But he is equally well known for his creation of new gadgets and devices to aid in the cinematographic field. Some time ago he brought out a focus chart that created much interest. Now he has improved upon that chart and has produced a gadget that should prove a very valuable adjunct to any cameraman’s equipment. It is a combination focus chart and scene slate. On one side is the chart, on the other the slate. The entire gadget is of a heavy quality fabrakoid. The entire chart and slate folds up and when ready for packing or putting in the pocket is 12 inches x 4 3/4 inches in size. On the outside of the gadget is a place for the camera report for the laboratory. The device should be very valuable on location trips.”

Hall, Hal, 1931. “A couple of weeks later he aroused the curiosity, and the ire, of the engineer in charge of the power house when he started installing a peculiar looking gadget in the base of the huge chimney. It consisted of a selenium cell on one side of the chimney, and an electric bulb on the other. And when the next rain fell the young Cal Tech man did not have to go out and get wet, for the smoke would cut off the light and thus operate the galvanometer hooked to the cell, ringing a bell when the smoke would appear. The apparatus was so good that it is still in use in the chimney after all these years. / The young college student was Frank Capra . . . “

Ingalls, Albert G., 1932. “now Mr. Graves is in again with something else-a new telescope with an 8 1/2-inch Pyrex mirror, on a Springfield mounting and a pedestal made of 6-inch pipe fittings, and driven by a Dictophone motor. He has also constructed a dingbat for making the knife-edge test. This, he admits, is against the rules of the game (ATM page 97) but says he made it, anyway, just for fun.”

, 1932. “The answer is a multiple one : The use of rear flaps changes the trim or balance, and therefore stability has to be carefully considered when flaps or variable-area wings are used; human nature is conservative pilots dislike intensely everything that partakes of the character of a “gadget”; cost and weight are always in­ creased no matter what slot or flap is applied.”

Schmidt, Robert and William Arnold Thorpe, 1932. “The small trinkets sometimes known as ‘gallantries’ are a minor phase of eighteenth-century culture, but not without their significance. No material is more suitable than porcelain…”

Roberts, Elizabeth Madox, 1932. “her again she flung him aside, her strength gathering. Anger and renewed horror made her strong and she warded herself from his fingers. She ran down the hill and out to the corn rows, leaping over the new green shoots and the plucked grain that the crows had despoiled, and she scattered the clods to a small dust that trembled in the air after her foot was gone. She walked through the house the next day on the duties assigned to her, as if she were no part of the place, as if she were an unrelated gadget pitched awkwardly through the utensils and through the prescribed hours. Her father spoke at the table: “ I spent the day in the corn. I replanted fifty hills the crows uprooted? a flock, a thousand strong, you’d think. “ “ I thought Joan made a scarecrow. “ They talked about the image in the upper field. “ No crow went anear the upper field, “ they said. Tony Wright came to the door of the house late in the morning and asked for”

Laughlin, J. Laurence, 1932. “puckered from the salt. Nowadays nobody pops corn. Report has it that in New York City there are not more than ten or twelve popcorn stands. Any lover of the delicacy who can, offhand, think of more than two is lucky. Even at Coney Island, where the popcorn trade should be brisk, one can walk the length of the Boardwalk without seeing a stand. Perhaps modern invention has made the pioneer delight of eating popcorn seem an anachronism. At any rate, there is not the old joy in corn popped in a little electrical gadget that there used to be in the delicious stuff that was energetically shaken in a frying pan over a redhot stove. A German techni cian sees a city as Breathing a great organism of a constantly inhaling Metropolis. and exhaling vast breaths up and down in the atmosphere. In Berlin, he estimates, the breathing of human beings and animals and the exhausts of automobiles and chimneys produces at least 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide a day. Trees and other living plants absorb only a small fraction of the gas”

Ramsaye, Terry, 1932. “RKO as it stands today is the result, or rather one of the several results of an engineering gadget, the photo-electric cell wedded to another gadget called the radio tube, superimposed on the prior mechanisms of the motion picture.”

, 1932. “An ingenious contraption called a “Thrill- O-Meter” was used for advance publicity on “Rue Morgue” by C. E. O’Donnell, manager of the Paramount Theatre, Baton Rouge, La. This thrill-o-meter was constructed by- building a lobby cut-out and using the figure of a gorilla. The display was arranged so that its base covered the lobby scales. Then under the scales platform, a water bag was placed, filled with colored liquid. The hot water bag was attached to a glass indicator tube which ran up the center of the cut-out. At various levels on the indicator, small cards were placed with copy such as : 200-220. .. .You like to be thrilled! 160-180. .. .We advise you to be accom- panied by an escort! 120-140 Its thrills will chill you! Wear an overcoat ! 80-100. . . .You have an average heart and can stand the supreme thrills in “Murders in the Rue Morgue !” 40- 60…. Don’t enter unless accompanied by a friend ! - 20. . . .You’re too young to see this pic- ture without your parents ! We believe the above description will en- able the average person to construct a simi- lar gadget, if the spirit so prompts him, and we are indebted to O’Donnell for passing along the information.”

, 1932. “See that circular looking gadget above the stacks with part of the title “Emma” on it? That’s not part of the bally; it’s another contrivance that Jones rigged up with a bicycle wheel and a fan motor. It’s really a round banner and instead of getting a mere eight feet of banner he gets twenty-one feet as it revolves. As the occasion warrants many changes can be made in copy and other gimmicks can be hung from the bottom edges. The entire display has the additional value of animation. “

, 1932. “Eisenstein looked at his watch. His boat for Europe, the boat on which he sailed second class because he couldn’t afford the more luxurious rates, sailed in a few hours. / ‘And before I go I must buy a gadget,’ he said. ‘It is a marvelous gadget I heard about. You put it on a water tap and cold water becomes hot. I must take one with me.’ / He thought for a moment. / ‘That’s just it,’ he said. ‘Hollywood tries to use the same kind of gadgets. They want to turn the gadget on a writer and his cold stories are expected to come out warm. They can’t do it. Gadgets are only for mechanics. Not for humans. And picture business is a human business.”

, 1932. “Newest sideshow built around ‘mechanical phrenologist,’ intricate gadget that looks like a permanent waver. Plungers feel out cranial high spots and hollows and automatically type a ‘character analysis.’”

, 1932. “Papa goes completely to ruin and son wanders around a bit. Then he invents a new gadget, restores the family fortune, and all is well.”

I am glad to note that the author stresses the importance of the automobile engineer realising that all these electrical contrivances now used on the motor car are no longer gadgets, but are part of the whole scheme, and it seems to me of fundamental importance that anyone setting out to design an automobile should consider it as one concrete problem, and not put on the starting motor, the dynamo or the other necessary electrical components as afterthoughts. […] The only way we can deal with wiring is to make it as good a job as possible and to guard against chafing. All the same i sometimes wonder whether some of the present electrical gadgets on cars could not be operated just as well mechanically, which would result in a considerable simplification of the wiring. […] There are so many gadgets on cars nowadays consuming current that at times there is very little available for starting the engine., 1933. “I am glad to note that the author stresses the importance of the automobile engineer realising that all these electrical contrivances now used on the motor car are no longer gadgets, but are part of the whole scheme, and it seems to me of fundamental importance that anyone setting out to design an automobile should consider it as one concrete problem, and not put on the starting motor, the dynamo or the other necessary electrical components as afterthoughts. […] The only way we can deal with wiring is to make it as good a job as possible and to guard against chafing. All the same i sometimes wonder whether some of the present electrical gadgets on cars could not be operated just as well mechanically, which would result in a considerable simplification of the wiring. […] There are so many gadgets on cars nowadays consuming current that at times there is very little available for starting the engine.”

** Leyson, Captain Burr, 1933.** “He realized that they were without his beloved ‘gadgets’ and dependent upon the skill of the pilot alone. And he was one of the newer school, one of these youngsters ‘softened’ by all the mechanical aids developed to lift the burden from their shoulders!” … young pilot decides to fly through: “He was flying blind, solely by his instruments. All of the gadgets which Pop had lavished upon the ships with the idea of making up for the deficiencies of the pilots were useless.” … “The gadget I’ve missed, forgotten, clean overlooked in my calculations is the cool head of the pilot, my boy! That’s what it is! I’ve been thinking the breed had changed, softened up from the old days. Well, they have changed at that! They have grown better! Shake hands, pilot!”

Galbraith, Robert Earle ed., 1933. “The modern American prose in this volume has as its distinguishing mark a certain tone. This tone is a compound of freshness, vigor, sprightliness, and a kind of good-natured sophistication. Its style is easy, almost nonchalant; but under its smooth surface lies genuine techncial competence and sound writing craftsmanship. / The increasing popularity of this kind of writing is a tribute to its extraordinary effectivenes. Whether used for a narrative summary of a news event, or for the intricate analysis of a biographical study, its charm attracts and holds the reader. If we may predict, a command of its technique will become more an more necessary for the student who aspires to the pages of our better magazines or even to the columns of his college publications.” … Elsie Gregory Macgill, “What to Call an Airplane”: “There are flying field terms galore for the airplane’s structural parts. Gadget is the panacea of all errors. You can never go wrong with gadget, as it covers everything from the wings to the pilot’s toothbrush. Other terms are more specific.” (37) “

Ingalls, Albert G., 1933. “The equipment consists of a mail-order-house bench grinder and quarter horsepower motor, two Carborundum wheels and some Carborundum grains, two felt wheels and powdered pumice, a few small gadgets, a strong thumb and patience. The material is low­ priced mineral in the rough–moss agates, rose quartz, carnelian, jasper, chalcedony, tiger eye and so on–obtainable from mineral dealers, or often is most unpromising stones simply picked up while on country rocks.”

Owen, Janet Curren, 1933. “. It was dull, and bare of anything more than a pale flecking of dust. When it was time for the little boys’ suppers Clay took them upstairs and gave them their baths in the same water. “ Why do I always have to have a bath with Johnnie? “ said the bigger boy furiously as the small boy dug strong toes into his bare back. “ Because, “ Clay patiently explained, “ we don’t want to use more hot water than we must. Every time we turn on the hot water it makes the gadget in the cellar go, and every time that goes it costs money. We must spend as little as possible. “ “’ Cause you’re home with us all the time? “ the bigger boy asked, looking wisely into his father’s serious face. “ That’s it, “ Clay said shortly. “ Shame, Martie, “ Lucia said when they came downstairs in their clean pajamas. “ Shame for what? “ “ Shame for pestering Daddy, “ she said indignantly. “”

Seaman, H.W., 1933. “English and American idiom and vocabulary have been drawn together in recent years by the radio, the talkies, Edgar Wallace P. G. Wodehouse Sinclair Lewis, Will Rogers, and many other agencies. We import racket from America, and export gadget in return. You send us high hat, hokum, getaway, panties, and hangover, and we send you swank, spoof, click, the wind up, and tell of. In this as in other commodities our imports exceed our exports. I can now write in any English newspaper of a man holding down a job or being dropped from the payroll, without benefit of quotes. The Prince of Wales, on the air, speaks of getting away with it. We no longer care”

Bloomfield, Leonard, 1933. “Dan, Mike can be described structurally as shortenings of the full name; this is not the case in Bob for Robert, Ned for Edward, Bill for William, Dick for Richard, Jack for John. Some have the diminutive suffix - ij, as Peggy, Maggie for Margaret, Fanny for Frances, Johnny, Willie, Billy. There is some intensity also in the connotation of nonsenseforms. Some of these, though conventional, have no denotation at all, as tra-la-la, hey-diddle-diddle, tarara-boom-de-ay; others have an explicitly vague denotation, as fol-de-rol, gadget, conniption fits. Any speaker is free to invent nonsense-forms; in fact, any form he invents is a nonsense-form, unless he succeeds in the almost hopeless task of getting his fellow-speakers to accept it as a signal for some meaning.”

Galbraith, Robert Earle ed., 1933. “section: PROCESSES, DEVICES, MECHANISMS. Morris Markey, “The Prophets”: New Yorker interview with a meteorologist. “We began with the barometer, because that was just beside his desk. Rather, let us say, five of them were beside his desk. They were no fancy optical-shop gadgets with enamelled dials and brass needles. They were simple tubes of mercury, two or three feet high, with scales affixed to them after the manner of a thermometer.” (74)”

Galbraith, Robert Earle ed., 1933. “section: CRITICISM. George F.T. Ryall. “The Plymouth’s Floating Power”: “The car has free-wheeling, too, which may be turned on or off by a pull-gadget, under the dash, that looks like a large choke button” (89).”

Galbraith, Robert Earle ed., 1933. “section: THE SHORT STORY. John Chapin Mosher. “Storm at Sea”: “Everybody but himself was asleep on that boat, and the water was pouring in, quite soaking the sheets now. […] He slipped out of bed and stood in his bare feet. It was a fancy little gadget holding up the window. He couldn’t do anything with it and a gust of rain blew in and sopped his pajamas.”

, 1933. “Don’t take camping too seriously—after all, it is an adventure. In these days of convenient equipment, it is a temptation to provide this and that modern gadget, until finally a-camping we go with our cars laden down with everything but the electric refrigerator and washing machine. All of which does something to that gypsy spirit which lures us out into the open. / Let’s go camping, but let’s leave everything at home that we can get along with out.”

, 1934. “Not a ‘Gadget’: REO self-shifter. As vital as self-starter; a safer, simpler means of driving. The lure of many strange devices has been held out to automobile buyers in the last few years. Gadget after gadget has taken its place in the parade of expedients. It is therefore understandable why some buyers have been confused–have found it difficult to distinguish between a gadget and a genuine improvement. Yet there is a simple way of telling. Try any device you have in mind and see how much actual difference it makes in the operation of a car. Then take the wheel of the Self-Shifting Reo. HERE is something FUNDAMENTAL! No gearshift lever – gearshifting automatic – innumerable clutch operations saved – driving made 33 1/3% easier and SAFER!”

, 1934. “Pliers, a file, and a pile of wire coat hangers are the only equipment and materials required for making a variety of wire articles useful in the home. For purposes in which rustproof qualities are important, gadgets can be constructed from galvanized hangers.”

McHugh, F.D., 1934. “Don’t buy ‘gas savers,’ ‘grease absorbers,’ or ‘burner protectors.’ They don’t save a penny; in fact, they usually cost more by increasing gas bills and many of them cause headaches, or worse effects of that stealthy and dangerous poison, cordon monoxide. / The National Bureau of Standards has conducted an investigation of a number of gadgets and appliances that were sold over the doorsill by salesmen who lauded them to the skies in extravagant claims of their value. The results of this research called for a warning against such purchases, which the Bureau issued.” / All of the ‘gas savers,’ it stated, affected the operation of a satisfactory gas range in such a way as to increase the tendency to form carbon monoxide, which even in very small amounts is injurious to health. Although agents sometimes boasted of a reduction in gas bills as high as 30 percent, none of the attachments tested increased efficiency appreciably, while some of them considerably increased the amount of gas need for certain purposes.”

, 1934. “The title, Gadget King of America, was mentioned. / ‘I don’t know what you mean by that,’ he laughed. ‘Gadgets aren’t things produced and proved by laboratory tests and practical demonstrations. Gadgets are–well, here I’ll show you one.’ / Wood walked over to a twelve cylinder car. He removed from the dashboard an attractive, nickeled object that was about three inches long. / ‘It’s an automatic cigaret lighter,’ he explained, ‘it lights and breathes, inhaling and exhaling, just as you do. All you do is put your cigaret in it, press a button and your cigaret is lighted and puffed on until you take it out. Saves you taking your eyes off the road while driving eight or ninety miles an hour. It’s just a gadget but I think I’ll have it patented.’ / But the Miss America [ship], were there not a lot of gadgets on her? Didn’t gadgets play a large part in the final perfection attained in the assembly of four motors having a total of 6,400 horsepower? / ‘Not on your life,’ Gar replied emphatically. ‘The Miss America X is the result of long research, of many painstaking laboratory experiments and of repeated practical tests. / ‘I am not denying that there are gadgets here and there that fulfil [sic] their purposes, I would even call the self-bailers on the boat a ‘gadget idea’–but the principal reasons for Miss America X’s success lie in the gear-box assembly and the boat’s variable step.” On the next boat Wood is developing: “‘But before we race it we’ll have to do a lot of work on blueprints, hold a whole lot of laboratory tests and do plenty of practical experimenting. The new one won’t be a gadget, or a collection of them, any more than is the Miss America X.”

Reeves, Earl., 1934. “Only about a decade ago, we had an infant industry, manufacturing radio sets, which was facing a problem unprecedented in business history. For in order to sell its product and thrive, it had to produce something else which that product could pluck out of the air. This was the beginning of broadcasting. / A gadget which boys of all ages had put together in the attic, came down into the living-room. Promptly technical discoveries began revolutionizing the gadget itself; and a growing and vociferous demand for good programs created a second bewildering problem.”

Harding, T. Swann, 1934. “[The Food and Drugs Act] defines a drug as an agent used in the treatment of disease. Freckles, excess hair, wrinkles, enlarged pores, falling hair, obesity, and dandruff are not dis­ eases; they may be blemishes or botherations, but they no more classify as diseases than do irregularly architectures noses and shortness of stature. Hence cosmetics are not drugs, unless they make some specific claim to cute disease on their labels-which, generally speaking, they never do. Cosmetics are surely not foods. Gadgets to straighten noses are not drugs, and neither are mechanical chiropractors intended to stretch the short men to great height so that they may avoid the failures and humiliations those of small stature (like Napoleon) undergo. / Therefore the present Food and Drugs Act does not cover cosmetics. It does not cover therapeutic gadgets and contraptions, some of them selling for 10 dollars and costing 75 cents to make, and all of them as astonishingly magical in their claimed powers as the miraculous necklace some firm got out to cure goiter. […] In . consequence of these deficiencies which have made Dr. Harvey W. Wiley’s Food and Drugs Act obsolete, a revision of that act has been prepared to supersede the old statute. It was written by legal and scientific experts in the Department of Agriculture, gained the blessing of the Administration, and was introduced in the Senate by Senator Copeland in June 1933 as S. 1944. That bill does specifically cover cosmetics. It covers gadgets and contrivances. It covers advertising, applying the same standard of accuracy to it that the present law applies to food and drug labels. It sets up food standards and it establishes minimum tolerances for the poison con­ tent of foods.”

Niblack, Ken G., 1934. “A bit of fine copper wire can be used through the eye of the needle, in order to hold a hair, and this hair, secured by wax or glue, is adjusted to focus. The gummed paper wrapped around the objective serves as a needle holder. A needle serves to hold a hair in position below the objective’s focus. This gadget can be adjusted easily to the center of the micro­scope field.”

, 1934. “Space permitting, we could list dozens of such things … ‘little things’ we have discovered in our pursuit of perfection in hotel service. Clean, new pen points, both ‘stub’ and ‘fine’ … fresh, free-flowing ink … a pin cushion with its quick repair supply of buttons, pins and threaded needles … a gadget for hanging trousers properly … the convenient desk calendar … a telephone-attached memorandum pad, etc., etc.”

, 1934. “Here’s how it works. Send us in tricks you have done in filming with your 8mm, 9 1/2 mm or 16mm camera . Explain them to us so that we can explain them to others in the pages of American Cinematographer. For every one we publish you will be entitled to your choice of one of the prizes listed below. By Gadgets we mean little pieces of equipment you have built, designed or devised. Equipment that works. Little gadgets you have added to your camera, projector or otherwise. For instance, we heard of one fellow who built a splicer out of a mouse-trap . . . that’s a gadget. What kind of gadgets have you made . . . what sort of tricks do you do with your camera or equipment? If necessary send us a rough sketch or a snap shot of your equipment if it will help describe it better and quicker. Here’s Your Chance to Win Equipment or Film. Frequently we have published what might be termed tricks. Such as making distorted effects by pouring sweet-cil over a glass in front of the film. Others have been published from time to time. In the way of gadgets we have reported many things from the building of a complete 16mm camera by amateurs down to making their own reels. “

, 1934. “Outstanding fizzes in direct sales have been electric clocks, candy and mechanical preparations. Bust-up of the electric clock attempt was due to the facts, first, that most direct sales customers don’t have electricity, and second, it was a mechanical gadget which took plenty of involved vocabulary to explain. Direct sales men all state that the article must be simple and understandable immediately. “

Daly, Phil M., 1934. “A couple of li’l gadgets have been picked up by Walter Futter on his trip here that should net him plenty. The first is a specially constructed microphone wit ha Voice Filter device. It will change any screen actor’s voice to any particular pleasant tone desired with the magic filter. It has been developed and patented by one of the country’s greatest organic chemists who has had lots to do with perfecting sound-on-film. . . . The second gadget picked up by the enterprising Mister Futter is a new type of make-up remover. . . . If Walter’s two gadgets work as per dope transmitted to us we figure Walt should be retiring on his millions a couple years from now.”

Eddy, Arthur W., 1934. “Sidney E. Samuelson said he hopes the convention program would “wipe out” the motion picture code and music tax in its efforts to correct industry abuses. Allied will play politics, he declared. One major purpose of the convention is to find out “the different tricks and gadgets of sales policies.” Samuelson announced a wire from Al Steffes, who endorsed the convention program and incidentally observed that the code has accomplished “nothing for the independent exhibitor.””

Sargent, Epes W., 1934. “Lately [toy train outfits in window shops] seem to have gone into the discard, but at least one hustler reports that he got all of the old effect by substituting the new streamlined train for the old-fashioned engine. Got the outfit free because the toy store was anxious to call attention to the novelty, and not only sent over a man to make the layout but took advertising space to tell that the gadget could be seen in operation in the theatre lobby.”

, 1934. “After years of unsuccessful toil on inventions, Victor C. Goodridge, forty years old, inventor and chemist, hit upon one invention that clicked. He ended his life with it. / He was found dead in his apartment at 6942 Kimbark avenue. On a table beside him lay dozens of gadgets and appliances, products of his genius.”

Ingalls, Albert G., 1935. “Centering comes next. When the lenses are polished, the dish is removed, clamping nut H (Figure 4) unscrewed and the spindle brought horizontal. For centering I use an attachment (Figure 4) that slips over the seat formerly occupied by the dish. This gadget comprises the rod K carrying the edging plate L and a screw M acting against an arm of K, and the guard N. The right adapter (A in c, Figure 6) is pressed on the tapered spindle end and a little hot pitch daubed on the flange at B.”

Deschin, Jacob, 1935. “After he has gotten the “hang of the thing” and achieved some success with his hobby, the camera fan begins to be attracted to the innumerable “gadgets” being offered by the various manufacturers. There is the angle view finder, by means of which the photographer may take pictures unsuspected by the subject; the reflex attachment for converting the Leica or Contax type camera into a reflex camera, thus combining two types of camera in one; the panorama tripod head which permits the miniature camera to do the work of a regular panorama camera; apparatus for converting the cameras into a stereoscopic camera; attachments for photo­ micrography; flash lamps accommodating flash bulbs which may be attached to the camera and made to operate simultaneously with the release of the shutter so that flash and shutter act together; single-exposure attachment with focusing device for close-ups of 10 inches; copying attachments, and many other devices allowing the owner of the miniature camera unlimited scope in his camera adventures, including even col­or photography.”

, 1935. “In one type, deflectors, consisting of small airfoils, are placed at the side of the wind­ shield and slightly ahead of the screen proper. When these deflectors were turned into the wind, it was found by scientific wind tunnel test that the velocity of the wind outside the cockpit but in the lee of the deflector was reduced to negligible pro­ portions. Therefore the pilot could look out at the side of the cockpit without discomfort. In another type the windshield is divided into two parts, and so arranged that the upper part can be staggered ahead of the lower part. Wind tunnel tests showed here that the air was deflected upwards with­ out any perceptible draught being felt in the cockpit, yet vision through the open­ ing was perfect. While open cockpits are now rarer than was the case a few years ago, anyone flying in an open ship might do worse than to ‘use one or the other of these two gadgets.”

Deschin, Jacob, 1935. “The true candid camera man is the most self-effacing chap on earth; the more he is ignored, the less he is observed, the better he likes it. Among the array of miniature cameras, accessories and wonder·working films and developing solutions that produce prints which would have been impossible only a few years ago, he wants for but one thing––some magic formula by which he might make himself invisible at will. / Lacking such a formula, however, the exigencies of his ‘now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t’ career have taught him many subterfuges, in which he is ably abetted by a number of ‘gadgets.’ One of the most useful of these is the so-called angle·view finder, a device which by means of mirrors enables the photographer to give the impression of aiming at something down the street while actually taking the picture of a subject standing at right angles to the photographer’s apparent vision. A variation of this, where a low viewpoint is desired, is to point this finder straight down to the floor or sidewalk and become ostensibly immersed in the examination of some mechanical problem of the camera itself.”

, 1935. “It’s new and different … slick and rounded to drop into the side pocket or purse … not a protruding gadget on its entire surface. It is almost indestructible - moulded of metal-core Bakelite in permanent grained brown color.”

Kennedy, John, 1935. “Simple, Efficient, Durable … Materials Cost One dollar … Wooden Frame … Chamois Skin Bellows … A Few Other Gadgets and an Evening or Two of Time.”

Ingalls, Albert G., 1935. “This pamphlet includes a description of a needle (smaller than the one to be described here) and an outline of the conditions under which the test shall be conducted. It does not describe any machine. That is left to the ingenuity of the inventor. The responsibility for the design of the machine shown on the present page must rest with me. The credit for making a really workmanlike gadget of it is due to Mr. Frank Wanderer, a member of our local A.T.M. association.”

, 1935. “Alfred Grosjean of Pasadena invented a sharp-angled violin, which is tuned three musical steps higher than an ordinary violinand and which he says reproduces the “ celestial “ or “ seraphic “ tones of ancient instruments. He calls it a “ violaeol, “ a word made up from violin and aeolian. Miss Violet Sheldon was interested. # Also to be seen: a clock with a million possible settings for the alarm; an automatic chewing gum vendor in which a miniature bronco kicks out the gum; an iron mask to supplant hot towels in facial massages; a gadget for looping up trouser-legs to resemble knickerbockers; a powder-puff for removing neck wrinkles and double chins; a mechanical backscratcher. # Albert G. Burns of Oakland, Calif, was re-elected president of the Congress. It was Mr. Burns who last year revealed that a Clevelander named Antonio Longoria had invented a death-ray which killed rabbits, dogs &; cats instantly (TIME, July 23). President Burns said that Inventor Longoria would withhold his secret until invasion threatened the U. S.”

Marston, William Moulton, 1935. “Therefore, I reasoned, no normal person can lie without increasing his blood pressure. This reasoning proved sound. Every time a subject lied, his systolic blood pressure went up. The more important the lie, the greater the mental effort and the greater the rise in blood pressure. I published the systolic blood pressure test for deception in rgy. Immediately the newspapers dubbed it the “ Lie Detector “ and referred to it as a mysterious apparatus. Actually the Lie Detector uses standard types of the sphygmomanometer - that little gadget which doctors wrap around your arm just above the elbow to take your blood pressure - to reveal the added mental effort used in lying.”

, 1935. “Carole Lombard will have nary a jewel, never a wisp of ostrich, fringe or such clutter in her next film . . . you can’t miss allure if you follow Joan Crawford and sew all kinds and colors of silky hat flowers to a yard and a half of taffeta, and drape it over the shoulder to ward off sneezes when you step out to see how the moon is coming along . . . Smart gadget is Grace Moore’s cravat, a straight band of dress material, an inch and a half wide, tied in a flat knot, and used on both evening and sport things.”

, 1935. “No wonder Lilian Bond is smiling! She has found a new can opener that accomplishes its task without the least bit of exertion on her part. [ . . . ] You slip a can of whatever you choose into a round, adjustable brace that holds it firm and stationary, push on a lever and the top of the can comes off slick as anything! This gadget is called “Dazey de Luxe,” formerly known as “Speedo. [. . . ] Any little girl likes cookies, and Shirley—the one and only Shirley—is no exception. That is the reason Mrs. Temple bought that truly remarkable gadget which has been put into use more than once in the Temple kitchen. It has various “form plates” which will cut cookie dough into various shapes. You select a plate, put the dough into the press, turn the crank and there are your cookies, all ready for the oven.”

, 1935. “And at last we have lighted on just the thing for in-between-hairdressing visits. It’s a clever little gadget called Lechler’s Ringlet Quick . . . and a neat remedy for ringlets that insist on dropping down on the neckline. You dampen the hair, hold the knob of the curler, release a spring, and slip in the hair to be curled. Wind tightly, slip a bobby pin into the ringlet, and draw out the curler. There you are . . . as many curls as you want on just one curler . . . and for only 50c.”

Hill, Gertrude, 1935. “You can run over to the Brown Derby any day at lunch time and see Gail in another gadget that only she could get away with gracefully. It is a little black felt coal scuttle she uses for a hat. Nothing goes to a girl’s head quicker than a new hat, and the latest Hollywood crop is shamefully intoxicating. They are the cherries in the spring wardrobe cocktails.”

, 1935. “Are you a bachelor girl with a small apartment or room where you “keep house” and do your own lingerie washing? Then you’ll be tickled at this clever, new gadget that is a clothesline with rubber suction things at the end. Apply them on any smooth surface and they will stick, until you want to take them down. Clever, these modern gals! 15c buys the whole business!”

Francis, Kay, 1935. “Glamour—just how much is it worth to the everyday girl? Should one try to follow the suggestions one reads? “It’s just a gadget!” Kay’s voice rang out explicitly. “Physical glamour, a surface asset, is a nice quality to have. But too great an emphasis has been put on it.” [. . .] “There are various gadgets which enhance our lives,” Kay opined, flipping a saucy cigarette ash onto a dictionary. ”Their duty is to make our lives more colorful. Glamour is merely one of these accessories. There are times when it’s fun.””

, 1935. “She drives a Ford roadster which she calls “Lindsay’s chariot.” It is distinguished for its infinite variety of nickel-plated horns and lights. Every pay day she adds another gadget, until the car is the last word in something or other.”

Hollis, Karen, 1935. “Candid and genuine Luise Rainer, the most skilled player to debut on our screens for some time, scored a big success in “Escapade.” Then the dress and gadget manufacturers started complaining. / “This girl just can’t be the outstanding success of the year. She can’t launch fashions. She’s too natural, too unassuming,” they said. It was bad enough to have Elisabeth Bergner of the casual clothes dominate the stage last winter. Stylists feel that the screen must give them a Harlow, a Crawford, or a wind-swept Hepburn on whom to hang the coming season’s fashions.”

Gold, Michael, 1936. “A man once went into an ironmonger’s shop and said hesitantly: ‘Do you sell those gadgets for fixing on doors?’ / ‘Well, sir,’ replied the assistant, ‘I am not quite sure if I understand your requirements, but I take it you are needing a patent automatic door-closer?’ / ‘Exactly,’ said the customer. ‘One to fix on my pantry door which, by the way, contains a glass window.’ / ‘You will want a cheap one, sir?’ / ‘Cheap but serviceable.’ / ‘You will prefer an English make, sir?’ / ‘Indeed, that’s a most important consideration.’ / /You will perhaps want one with ornamentation, scroll work and roses, for instance?’ / ‘Oh, no, nothing of the sort, thank you. What I want is as plain and unobtrusive as possible.’ / ‘You would like it made of some rustless metal, sir?’ / ‘That would be very convenient.’ / ‘And with a strong spring?’ / ‘Well, moderately strong.’ / ‘To be fixed on which side, sir?’ / /Let me see; the right-hand side.’ / ‘Now, sir,’ said the assistant, ‘I will go through each point, one by one. You want an efficient (but not too costly) English made, unobtrusive, rustless, unornamented, patent automatic door closer, to be fixed right-handed with a moderately strong spring to a pantry door with a gas window. Is there anything further, sir?’ / ‘Well, it’s very good of you to help me like this,’ said the customer. ‘I should also like it easily adjusted and easily removable, and above all it must not squeak or need constant oiling.’ / ‘In fact,’ said the clerk, ‘you want an apparatus combining a variety of qualities, in a word, an absolutely silent, efficient, economical, invisible, corrosive-proof, unonramented, not-too-heavily-springed, easily adjustable, readily removable, British-made, right-handed, patent automatic door closer, ideally fitted in every possible respect for attaching your pantry door which (I understand you to say) contains a glass window. How is that sir?’ / “Splendid, splendid.’ / ‘Well, sir,’ said the clerk, ‘I regret that there has never been any article of that description put on the market, but if you care to visit our wholesale department across the road, you may perhaps be able to make your selection from a reasonably large assortment of our present imperfect models. Good day, sir.’” (61-62) “Well, that’s the story of the ideal gadget. People like Mr. Brickell, Mr. Krutch and Mr. Villard are saddened by the fact that there are no ideally perfect, readily noble, spiritually supreme workers on the market upon whom they could put their faith to carry through a revolution which shall be quite as noble and as perfect as they themselves are. It is regrettable, but unavoidable, that the Communists must be compelled to carry through a revolution with the present assortment of workers who od not possess all those noble, idea qualities without which Mr. Brickell and Mr. Krutch do not see the possibilities of establishing a world which shall release men from the miseries and the exploitations which they now suffer.”

, 1936. “The question is frequently asked whether it is not cheaper to buy one’s photographic accessories than to build them. Such a statement cannot be answered with a blanket reply of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because several factors are involved. What, for instance, is meant by expense? Money or time? From the dollars and cents viewpoint, it may be cheaper to ‘make it yourself’ but it will, of course, involve time–in some cases, a great deal of time. It is taken for granted, of course, that the home-made article will be made so well that it will work as effectively as the purchased one. / Another point to consider is the ‘makeup’ of the builder himself. There are some self-sufficient people, sometimes known as the ‘handy-man’ type, who will never buy an article that they can possibly make themselves. With such persons, the expense of time will be offset by the satisfaction derived from making the desired gadget. / Then there is the factor of whether the accessory in question is available on the market. Certain photographic problems are so peculiar and unusual that nothing remains for the worker to do but to make the required tool himself or to go without it.”

, 1936. “PERPLEX is the ideal Tank for the Home Laboratory. It is versatile, accommodating 5 different film sizes. Made entirely of Bake­lite, it is non-corrosive and thus impervious to the effects of photographic chemicals. It is simple to operate, has no complicating gadgets and obviates the necessity of difficult finger manipulation. Superbly constructed and yield­ ing fine results, it is moderately priced at $8.50.”

, 1936. “But that was just the beginning. Gadget upon gadget blossomed forth and went into immediate use. A kitchen rack arose, with hooks for pots and pans and space for plates and eating utensils. A ‘cup tree’ spread out its arms. Over in that corner (I am pointing SW now) we dug an underground refrigerator. And in the other direction was the covered garbage hole and the grease trap, which consisted of a small pit with a wicker cover. On the cover we piled a couple of handfulls of dry grass to absorb the grease from the messy water poured through it. The grass we renewed daily, burning the old lot. […] All this was the work of the first couple of days in camp, but the gadget idea went on. We moved forward under the battle cry, ‘Let’s have another gadget!’ and the further result was a camp broom, fire tongs, rustic broilers, a hot-plate holder, pot hooks, a serving table, shoe racks, a bulletin board, and even a primitive mail box before the ten days were up. […] How many of that type of gadget shall we be seeing in your camp this summer?”

Devoe, Alan, 1936. “In reading through “the glossy pages of a large and costly monthly” magazine… “In absorbed fascination I read these slyly contrived proffering of wares, and I became aware as I read these slyly contrived profferings of wares, and I became aware, as I read, that almost all the advertised products–although as physically various as ice-boxes and pens, underwear and cigar-lighters–had a certain common aspect. Almost all of them, in a word, were gadgets. / A gadget is not easy to define. It is a kind of what’s or thingumabob or dingus–all these excellent slang words being themselves, alas, rather nebulous and indefinable. The fact that it is indefinable may be, I suspect, the clue to the gadget’s nature. The gadget, in short, is a gadget; which is to say that it is not definable in terms of its relation to the real life and basic pursuits of man. A ‘hat’ we may define; it is an object to keep the human head warm or dry or shaded or otherwise comfortable. We may readily enough define food or drink or books or houses. But the gadget…” (590) / “I hear complaints and repinings now and again that in this age philosophy is dead. But I do not think so. There has simply been substituted, for other philosophies, the philosophy of the gadget. This philosophy is but materialism carried to a somewhat attenuated but entirely logical extreme. It is the ultimate, and rather pathetic, expression of acquisitiveness. […] We have deified gadgets, precisely as we have tended more and more to make material concerns for ultimates of our thinking. For that modern temper which delights ‘to pay devout and uncritical obeisance to the analytic intelligence,’ disclaiming every other human faculty of apprehension, and which–being beset by economic woes–is obsessed by economic criteria of values, and by those alone, it would be hard to find a more fitting symbol and insignia than The Gadget.” “That we seek to appease this gnawing sense of want and incompleteness by devising newer and queerer and more elaborate gadgets is not more ridiculous than sad. It is part of the flight from reality, or rather, perhaps, of the refusal to face reality steadfastly and with full realization.” Goes to a “dream of some day about the year 5000” when archaeologists explore “the subterranean ruins of a great twentieth-century city,” uncovering miserable tabloids chronicling war, “night clubs,” and the horrors of… ::gasp:: stand up comedy! “And then, in this dream, I see the leader of the archaeological party pounce with delight upon a small object in the dust, and I hear him cry ‘Here is their sacred talisman, the symbol of their religion!’ and I see him hold up to his conferères a cigar-lighter with the recipes for eight cocktails printed on it, and with a fountain-pen at one end of it and a flashlight at the other.”

Pegler, Westbrook, 1936. “At night the automobile lights lure out hundreds of hares and rabbits of suicidal bent, which try to end it all beneath the wheels and in many cases do. It is all right to run over His Majesty’s game, but it isn’t all right to pick it up and take it away, for that comes under the head of poaching, and they are quite fastidious about these laws. It has not been many generations since it was legal to set man traps in the fields to catch poachers, and one of these devices, a wrought-iron gadget on the order of a rat trap but much bigger and strong enough to break a man’s leg, is now exhibited in the King’s Lynn Museum.”

, 1936. “First U. S. patent on a writing-machine, however, was issued in 1829 to a remarkable man named William Austin Burt. On this device, in March 1830, Inventor Burt whacked out the first letter typewritten in the U.S. Last week the Smithsonian Institution proudly announced that it had acquired and would shortly display this message. # Inventor Burt’s machine, made entirely of wood, was destroyed in the Patent Office fire of 1836. It was a ponderous gadget with the type carried on a circular frame operated by a lever. That Burt could write faster with his machine than by hand is highly improbable. Yet it had a feature that was lacking in some commercial machines for many years: separate sets of capital and lower-case letters, with a shift mechanism for changing from one to the other. # Descended from a family of early Massachusetts settlers, William Austin Burt was a surveyor, mechanic and millwright. He lived on a farm near Detroit when he put”

Jordan, Myra, 1936.Gadget: A gentleman who was in a department store the other day, making some modest purchases at the liquor counter, reported to us a rather surprising thing he noticed: the young lady who waited on him added up the items on the sales slip with a tiny gold adding machine which she carried inconspicuously in her hand. He fell to wondering if this was efficiency, or an effort to abash other stores, or what; finally he asked us to investigate. We did, and the explanation makes as pretty”

Lengyel, Emil, 1936. “Rumor said that Mussolini might visit Avigliani, and an old fogy in the tavern on Piedmont Lane swore that he had seen him in the village, his heavy chin covered with a dense growth of beard so as to escape recognition. Giovanni followed the call of higher wages and set out for Torino, promising his mother an easier life. The automobile factory hired him, and he served the machine all day, adjusting to the cars a gadget which looked like a pair of skates. At first he thought his back would break in two. Once or twice he collapsed with fatigue and the foreman swore at him in the choice dialect of Calabria, which he did not understand. But after a few weeks Giovanni became used to his servitude and even began to find comfort in the quiet irresponsibility of his work. He earned far more than he could have made in his native village, and part of his money went to his mother.”

, 1936. “Onslow Stevens thinks one of the handiest gadgets to have in the house is Holdems . . . for repairing loose chair rungs. “They really do the trick,” says Onslow. “You simply remove the rung in question and force it back into the socket with a Holdems alongside of it. The barbs on either side of the little metal gadget hold the run in place forever.””

, 1936. “H. Leslie Atlaas is head man of WBBM and the Chicago office of Columbia. His home is equipped with special lines so he can hear without a radio what his station and network are broadcasting by simply dialing a special telephone gadget. Also, the same system permits him to listen in on the monitor wire and hear what the engineers in the control rooms are saying to each other.”

, 1936. “There was talk of a mechanical gadget to delay announcers words after they had entered the microphone long enough for a copy-desk of ‘editors’ to delete objectionable phrases. Most of the editorial comment was in a similar jocular vein, and did Ted no real harm.”

, 1936.Gadget Night at the Philadelphia Cinema Club brought out everything, from homemade double turntables, through an emery grinder made into a rewind, to a tiny model in color of Peggy’s Cove which had been used in making tiles for a film of that community.”

, 1936. “Let’s now pass down under the camera, to finish our new inspection. Here, we find the tripod socket. What more prosaic and uninspired gadget than this? Yet, this unobtrusive little threaded recess is one of the most important aids to good pictures. What a pity it is so little used!”

Newton, Joseph Fort, 1937. “I have found Americans out,’ writes a dear English friend, who is a good deal of a wag. ‘They are gadget-minded. If they see a thing that needs to be done, they rig up a device, mechanical or mental, and make the thing do itself with no further bother.’ / ‘As a result,’ he goes on,’ they have created a touch-the-button civilization, and I for one admire it. Why go on doing a thing in the same old way, over and over again, if we can make a robot do it for us, and do it better? My hat is of to the gadget mind.’ / To prove his point he refers to the Mark Twain story of the Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur. The Yankee saw a saint swaying to and fro in an ecstasy of devotion, and to him it was a clear case of lost motion. So he sat about and invented a device by which to harness the saint and use his motions to run a sewing machine. In other words, he put religion to a practical use. / But, my friend goes on to say, there are some fields in which the gadget mind will not work; and here he gets under our skin a bit. We tried to achieve temperance by prohibition, and it failed. We passed the law, wrote it into the Constitution and thought that the thing was done, and would stay done, or else would go on doing itself. / In the same way, he adds–rubbing it in rather sharply–we proposed the Pact of Paris; just another glorious gadget. We wrote a law outlawing war, renouncing it as a policy of nations. The Law was solemnly signed; an dew thought the thing was done once for all. But, alas, we see now that much remains to be done before war is ended. / In other words, my friend argues rightly, something more than a gadget mind is needed to deal with the issues now before mankind. It cannot be done by a twist of the wrist or the turn of a trick, much less by touching a button. We need vision, and the courage, wisdom and patience to work it out, though it may take a long time. / Yes, the gadget mind is useful in its place; it can do many things. But the spiritual mind, God-illumined, is the hope of the race.”

Fraprie, Frank R. and Franklin I. Jordan, 1937. “This book is the work of many authors. No one person could ever think up half the things it contains. It came out of the sweat and toil and practical experience of hundreds of enthusiastic photographers whose nimble wits have devised thse clever mechanical means for overcoming some of their many difficulties that stand between them and the attainment of their goal. … Photography is a many-sided hobby. Among other diversions, it provides those of its devotees who like to tinker with tools a never ending incentive to make devices for which they have immediate and very practical use. They ahve the fun of making things whose utility amply justifies the time and inexpensive materials required. … It is not the purpose of most of these ingenious gadgets to take trade away from the photographic manufacturer. Commercial products cannot usually be duplicated in the home workshop at anything like the cost of the manufactured article. But here are many items not regularly marketed. They would probably not have sufficient sale to warrant their manufacture, although many of them will prove invaluable to workers faced with problems similar to those of the writers. We are confident that no one seriously engaged in photography, especially under makeshift conditions in the home where so much enthusiastic work is done, can fail to find in this book many hints which will save him not only an appreciable amount of time and money, but also much vexation of spirit.”

Plough, Alvin Richard, 1937. “Gag, ‘a joke or imposture; a hoax.’ Gadget, ‘a contrivance, object or device; a term often used to denote something novel’–slang. Gimmick, ‘any small device used secretly by a magician in performing a trick.’” “The author, while performing professionally, from 1908 until 1921, when he entered the radio broadcasting field at WLW, Cincinnati, believed he had originated many new ideas in magic, only to find that someone else had the same ideas. A memorandum book, with the idea and date of its creation, with a signature of a witness, is necessary to prove originality in lawful court, and therefore, it is a suggestion, that should you develop a new idea in magic, follow this procedure.”

, 1937. “From time to time we have mentioned in this department various new picture markets. We cannot urge too strongly that the amateur attempt to tackle these markets and see if he can’t make them pay for a new camera or some of those expensive gadgets, not to speak of just humdrum necessities such as film and paper and chemicals. Good picture markets are the picture agencies who take your pictures on an outright purchase or commission basis and try to sell them to newspapers and magazines.”

Coyle, David Cushman, 1937. “There are several unneccesary complications in our income tax rates, which might well be dropped out, so that the ordinary man might have a chance to udnerstand what the rates really are” (125). “All these taxes should be as simple as possible. Gadgets such as the earned income credit are more nuisance than they are worth.” (146) “We make too much of the search for small bits of justice. Justice is a noble ideal, but far away. When a tax bill is before hte Ways and Means Committee, one interest and another come up to plead for some minor point of justice. One little gadget is added to meet one objection and another little gadget to overcome the disadvantages of the first, until the sum of a lot of little attempts to do the right is the great wrong of tying government and taxpayers in a mass of red tape”

, 1937. “Whittling and Woodcarving. by E.J. Tangerman. It appears, at least from the advertisements of cutlery people, that whittling and woodcarving are coming back as serious hobbies. This volume proves it. Starting with a discussion of how to make the simplest toys and gadgets, trinkets, and wood chains, it proceeds to discuss the carving of human figures, elaborate chests, plaques, designs, and moldings for furniture.”

, 1937. “Twin Pocket Trouble Shooter Gadgets, devised by Alfred A. Ghirardi, are two novel compilations of data for the radio trouble shooter, covering both home and automobile radio sets. These gadgets are fully described in a circular which many be had by writing for Bulletin G35, Radio & Technical Publishing Co., 45 Astor Place, New York City.–Gratis.”

Rhine, J.B., 1937. “How to Make Electric Toys. By Raymond F. Yates. Presents the fundamentals of electricity and how to make a wide variety of toys and gadgets run by electricity.”

Leitfred, Robert H., 1937. “Well, I’m not through yet. So far everything looks right? except the open door of the safe. “ He again took a stance in the center of the room, legs spread wide, hands plunged deep in the side pockets of his coat. He noticed for the first time the water cooler to the right of the safe. He took a waxpaper cup from a nearby container and pressed his thumb against a pressure faucet. Noisily he drank. “ Are you drinking water? “ shuddered Anderson. “ Nope, just playing with the gadget, “ admitted Crole. He went over to Virginia Laird’s desk.”

, 1937. “Tired of lacing up his boots, a Chicagoan named W. L, Judson in 1893 devised the world’s first slide fastener. It worked badly, but it made an instantaneous impression upon Colonel Lewis Walker, a lawyer from Meadville, Pa. Colonel Walker spent the next 20 years and about $1,000,000 collected from a multitude of sources, before he began to achieve any commercial success with the gadget. Judson was unable to perfect it and it was not until 1913 that one Gideon Sundback developed the “ zipper “ as everyone now knows it. Started that year in a $300-a-year shack in Meadville, Hookless Fastener Co., maker of “ Talon “ fasteners, immediately went to town, is now the biggest of 16-odd U. S. zipper makers.”

Furnas, J.C., 1937. “When the President pushes an ivory button on his desk to open the sluices of Hoover Dam or light up the symbolic Tower of Something or Other at a world’s fair, reporters, newsreel cameras and microphones are always there to trumpet abroad the drama of the occasion. When John Smith registers at a metropolitan hotel in the modern tradition, that is another simple act which sets in motion a machine as impressive as any 10,000-ton gadget in a powerhouse. But this huge, part-human, part-mechanical organization is out of sight and silent, all the more so the better it works. If he realized the amount of smoothly oiled routine called for by the mere fact of his arrival, John Smith might get a swelled head. Which would be unfortunate, because, as the above parable indicates, this machine has a double function: It is tooled and synchronized to supply the guest whatever he wants with so much speed and so little inconvenience”

Walker, Helen Louise, 1937. “It must require a lot of ingenuity for actors to think up the things that they think up to buy and do when they are between pictures—or even when they are between scenes in a picture. . . . They can’t even relax for a few moments between shots when they are working the set. They have to think up practical jokes to play on some one or a new game for next week’s party. Or they send to the corner drug store for a gag or a gadget. How they all love gadgets! / Maybe I had better try to explain, in my slightly bewildered fashion, what a gadget is / If I understand it rightly, it is something which seems to be useful but isn’t. It must be expensive. It must be something the like of which you never saw before—so that when the proud owner displays it you will look astonished and say, ‘Oooops! How cute!’ Or maybe you just say, ‘Well! Well!’ Any exclamation of that sort will make the owner happy. . . . Guy Kibbee attaches a little motion-picture camera in front of his hat when he goes fishing alone. Robert Taylor’s cuff links are weensy-weensy watches too small to tell the time except with a magnifying glass. Hugh Herbert has a time clock arrangement that dims the light when it’s time for him to stop reading in bed. Chester Morris’s electric toothbrush is the smartest gadget in town these days.”

Stull, William, 1937. “In one of Teorey’s shoregoing films he used quick whirls of the camera for rapid transitions. When asked how he did that he brought out a most amazing gadget and confessed it cost him exactly nothing. But it does the trick! Two strips of wood, joined in L shape, carry the camera, which is held in place by an ordinary wing bolt screwing into the tripod socket. Attached to the upright of the L, and in line with the axis of the lens, is a length of metal rod.”

Pratt, Fletcher, 1938. “Triumph of the Gadgets”

Calahan, Harold Augustin, 1938. “But if a gadget is a machine, an invention, a mechanical means of achieving a result, a wrinkle is a method of procedure. Again our lexicographer, rating the word as colloquial, one step higher than slang, describes it as ‘a curious or ingenious notion; happy thought.’ I will accept that phrase ‘happy thought’ as particularly pat. But to the seaman, a gadget is a thing, and a wrinkle is a method, and both of them for most part unusual and unstandardized.” (viii)) / That a gadget is a solution that arises naturally out of the materials of the ship – similar to distinction made in US Court of Appeals case on the difference between a gadget and an invention: “In the long centuries in which men have sailed the seas, they have faced and solved oft-recurring problems. When these problems present themselves on every passage and on every tack, the means of solving them are built right into the ship or her rigging. ut when, as so often occurs, the problem arises out of some unusual situation, the sailor is forced to turn inventor. He calls upon all his ingenuity. He summons to his aid his past experience with the solution of some similar problem. And perhaps he remembers, with that strange race memory which is often mis-called instinct, some similar experience of a sea-going ancestor.” / “Our lexicographers define a gadget as ‘anything the name of which cannot be recalled at the moment,’ and in parentheses, they add (Slang, U.S. Navy.) But the name has a broader meaning and a riper antiquity than the dictionary credits. I believe the term is older than the navy itself, ad far too deeply imbedded in the language to merit the transitory stigma of slang. A landsman’s synonyms for gadget are thing-um-bob, widget, what-do-yer-call-it, do-funny. A sailor’s synonym is gilhickey, although a purist would make a distinction by never using the term gilhickey except to distinguish one gadget from another. The first gadget is the gadget. The second gadget in any situation in which two appear is the gilhickey.” (viii) / The temporality/longevity/life-span of a gadget–“But it must not be considered that the term is applied merely as a temporary substitute for an object’s true name. Most of the unusual things about a ship go nameless forever. When an invention becomes so standardized that it acquires a name, it ceases to be a gadget except for those brief periods when its distinguishing name is forgotten. But there are thousands of unusual things about a ship or a yacht that were born gadgets and will remain gadgets as long as they are used. They are the inventions that solve the rare problems, the machines that are unnecessary on most vessels and at most times and are therefore nameless.” That at any moment, a gadget could become a wrinkle and vice versa–the difference between a tool and a procedure is not readily identifiable: “I have been sore put to it to organize this book. For I am dealing with concepts that have thus far resisted organization so well that they have avoided being tagged with names. Also it is pretty hard to tell where a gadget begins and a wrinkle ends or vice versa. Take a familiar example. You are about to tie two lines together. You tie them into a weaver’s knot. Standard practice so far–no gadgets, no wrinkles. The nrealizing that ther eis going to be a terrific strain on that line and that the knot will be pulled so tight that you will never be able to untie it again, you decide to slip a toggle into the knot. That’s a happy thought, for you can always take a hammer and drive out the toggle and the knot will be loose. What is that toggle–a winkle or a gadget? Now suppose we decide that the strain is going to be so great that it will be difficult to drive out an ordinary toggle. So we use a large fid whose sloping shape assures us that the slightest driving with the hammer will loosen the knot. Is the wrinkle now a gadget? Or if the small end of the fid is greased to make it slip more easily through the the tight turns of the knot, does it become a wrinkle again? I don’t know and I don’t pretend to try to find out. The line of demarkation is too indistinct. So I shall write about gadgets and wrinkles without worrying much about branding them with their proper names.”

, 1938. “It must have been from some such beginning that ‘gadgets’ were born.”

, 1938. “Write me today and ask for the new Bass Bargaingrams … bigger and better than ever before. Two separate editions … one for the STill Camera addict (fan, enthusiast) filled with thousands of fascinating items, cameras, gadgets, etc., and the other a veritable compendium (encyclopedia) of apparatus, impediments and incunabula for 8 and 16 mm Movie (CINE) operation … Send for one or both … but mention which. They’re free.”

Ingalls, Albert G., 1938. “In figure 5 the Herschel wedge is shown at the left. Near it is a three-lens Ramsden eyepiece made by Taylor and at the right is another of his gadgets, a micrometer focus control. This may be used on any telescope having a standard 1 1/4” diameter eyepiece fitting and it moves the eyepiece assembly in or out of focus, similar to a rack and pinion.”

, 1938. “The junk-jewelry and charm-bracelet fad proved such a gold mine for gadget manufacturers that spring finds them marketing an extraordinary new crop of decorative objects for women’s wear. ‘Lapel gadgets’ is what they are called and the industry considers them a ‘hot item.’ Although the season has just begun, manufacturers report that lapel ornaments already account for 35% of their sales of ‘junk.’ […] Most imaginative of the lapel-gadget designers is Martha Sleeper, vivacious young stage and screen actress who plays minor rolls in Hollywood. Miss Sleeper designed the steer’s skull below, obviously inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.”

French, Sydney J., 1938. “No one doubts today that we live in an age of alloys, for every day marks the birth of some new alloy with particularly useful qualities. We have become accustomed to reading about alloy trains, alloy aircraft, alloy trimmings, and alloy gadgets. Yet, it is surprising to know that until recently the whole process of alloy making has been a shot in the dark, a cut and try process.”

Robinson, Henry Morton, 1938. “Some firebugs go in for complicated gadgets involving wires, springs, and time fuses. But such ingenuity usually brings the gadgeteer to grief; nine out of ten times these infernal machines do not quite work. […] The simplest of all gadgets is the common candle which burns at the rate of an inch an hour.”

, 1938. “How to Make Electric Toys, by Raymond F. Yates. Youngsters old and young will find in this 200-page book a wealth of information about how to make simple little electrical gadgets that will afford hours of pleasure. Secret magnetic locks, experiments with coils, an electric alarm, an electric chair for bugs, magic magnetic boats, a shocking coil, and a dozen or so other equally interesting gadgets are described.”

Deschin, Jacob, 1938. “Odds and ends of cardboard for mounts and other purposes are conveniently stored in the illustrated gadget. Its construction is simplicity itself and is evident from the illustration; two strips of wood at the back and one at the front, although more may be used if required. The device is suspended from the molding with two ordinary picture hooks. Another use for the device is the storage of large photographic blotters.”

, 1938. “If the summer now drawing to a close had any distinction fun-wise, it was in all the new and wonderful things people carried to the beach with them as a protection against the sun. Nowhere was this display of luxury gadgets more concentrated than at the private beach clubs along the Atlantic seaboard. At such places, at least, medical warnings against sunburn had had their effect on sunbathers who employed all manner of doodads to avoid blistering.” an Abercrombie & Fitch screen made of canvas and cellophane. Sunshade that lays over eyes. “Lewis & Conger’s ‘sun-meter,’ a clocklike device which rings a bell after a set time to warn you to turn over like a squab on a spit.” … caption: “With no gadgets at all this girl has a grand time just holding her hat on.”

, 1938. “The eliminator made its appearance last week when at a dealers’ and distributors’ Chicago convention, Philco Radio &; Television Corp. engineers demonstrated their new Mystery Control unit. # As startling as a Ouija, the small, two-pound, dial-topped box, bare of any wire connections to the receiving set, changes the receiver’s tuning from station to station, raises and lowers volume. Selection is made by a gadgetthat looks like a telephone dial. The gadget can be carried indoors &; out, works the receiver from any point within 75 feet. Philco officials are not revealing the principle of operation, letting it be known only that a radio tube and a dry cell are parts of the mechanism. The control works exclusively with the set to which it is synchronized, does not permit playing games with a neighbor’s radio.”

White, Katherine S., 1938. “When the pneumatic-tube system was installed at the Exchange in 1917, the widgets were called “ tube carriers. “ It was a financial writer, in a rare sportive mood, who later gave them the nickname. The Stock Exchange librarian, Mrs. Meredith, investigated the word recently and found it in Weseen’s Dictionary of American Slang, published in 1934? “ Widget: an indefinite substitute name for any appliance or device. “ Or, as they now say at the Exchange, “ A widget is a gadget. “ Widgets are manufactured by several competing companies, which submit sealed bids for orders to the Exchange’s Division of Supply. They come in three colors – natural maple, red, and blue; the colors have no significance. They have to be breakable, or else when they got out of shape with wear they’d clog up the pneumatic tubes. They travel on the main floor of the Exchange at an average speed of 15 M.P.H.”

Maas, Carl, 1938. “Electricity has so recently revolutionized lighting that everyone is now conscious of the problems involved in balancing correct light with attractive lighting. Although much of the recent talk about correct lighting is simply propaganda for gadgetry, the new interest in light makes it easier to investigate? and to solve? the difficulty of combining beauty and use in artificial light.”

, 1939. “A year ago women wore onions in their coat lapels. This spring college girls wore carrots in their hair. This summer it looks as if women will wear glass umbrellas, jugs, fruit, birds and question marks in their ears. The glass earrings on this page are made by Marianna von Allesch, decorator and glass blower, and are now sold all over the country for about $2.95.”

, 1939. “Yet in all our wide reading about the unfortunate incident, we recall not one hint of certain broader implications. Too much was said of war psychosis and nothing of the normal human equation. We had thought that the Brooklyn Bridge would find no “buyers” now, yet the confidence men who periodically “sold” that structure in the old days had a harder job than the broadcasters of H. G Wells’ drama, for the latter explained over and over what they were doing. It begins to look as though there must be something inherent in the radio, in the mystery of a voice coming from an unseen speaker through a gadget of wires and tubes, that inspires unquestioning confidence. Otherwise, despite the war psychosis explanation, why did not more people question this particular broadcast as did one man we know who did not hear the original announcement?”

, 1939.Gadget sticks out tongue at noisy driver. New device gives ‘razz’ to silly auto horn tutors. […] Millions of motorists have wanted a gadget of this type for years, and Fooey Face has now been placed on the market.”

, 1939. “The gadgets! My heart jumped. I at once envisioned the sly gadget, the lovely gadget, gadget par excellence–the angle view-finer. There were a dozen other gadgets in the gadget-bag, a photo-electric exposure-meter, filters, telescopic lenses. They were there for duty.”

** Nock, Albert Jay, 1939.** “Similarly a romancer who had a cynical turn might foreshadow the collapse of Wester civilization, and call it The Triumph of the Gadget. In all probability the emergence of the gadget has had a vast deal to do with the degenerative process. During the last fifty years there has been invented almost every conceivable labor-saving device, with the consequence that the average man is in a state of utter manual incompetence. This is well-known and is often commented upon. But what is not so often observed in that these gadgets are not only labor-saving but brain-saving, thought-saving; and it seems an inescapable conclusion that a correlative mental incompetence is being induced. / A certain amount of resistance seems necessary for the proper functioning of mental and moral attributes, as it is for that of physical attributes. In any of these three departments of life, if you can get results without effort, and habitually do so, the capacity for making the effort dwindles. Whatever takes away the opportunity for effort, whatever obviates or reduces the need for making it, is therefore to some degree deleterious. It needs a bit of brains to manage a furnace-fire successfully; an automatic heater needs none; hence many householders today could not manage a furnace-fire to save their lives”

Davis, Maxine, 1939. “By inventing tricky gadgets and offering novel, needed services, thousands of plucky youth now are job makers–not job seekers.”

Ficke, Arthur Davison, 1939. “During the few months of delay required by Henry to get his factory force and his advertising force and his sales force organized, expectation and curiosity rose high. Nobody knew what the gadget was to be, except that it was rumored that it was to be extremely gadgetish. Henry, in the meantime, cleverly whetted the public curiosity by putting up along the most frequented monkey-paths in the jungle signs such as these: BRING SUNSHINE IN TO THE FAMILY NEXT / BUY A GADGET – AND IT DOES THE REST. A COCOANUT, A COCOANUT, A COCOANUT A DAY / WILL BUY YOUR WIFE A GADGET AND KEEP THE FROWNS AWAY.” turns out to be a cocoanut opener: “The Guenon Perfection Automatic Cocoanut Decapitator.” “It was so much more esthetic to have neatly decapitated cocoanuts, instead of the old kind that merely had their tops bashed in with a rock, that no self-respecting monkey-family dared serve any other kind. And besides that, the gadget was such fun to play with. Many a previously-industrious husband would stay at home half the morning fooling with the Decapitator when he ought to have been out picking cocoanuts for the support of his family.”

, 1939. “His ‘crash rodeo,’ however, is more than an exhibition of nerve. It is a demonstration of precise planning and of the value of mechanical safeguards. For gadgets play a stellar role in his escapes from death.” i.e.: “A sponge-rubber kneeling pad, of the type used by housewives and gardeners, is fastened to the top of the rear fender. This enables the stunt man to remove the saddle post and sit far back on the machine, with his body low over the gas tank. … Another safety measure is a pad fastened tightly to the top of the motor-cycle frame.”

Buxbaum, Edwin C., 1939. “We have been accused of being a nation of gadget collectors; collectors of camera accessories that are bought solely for the purpose of acquiring more gadgets. So what? What finer gadget can you acquire than a gleaming telephoto lens, a combination of steel, glass, and chromium that is beautiful to lok at, that functions like a piece of clockwork and that is a thrill to own? Acquire your gadgets if you can afford it. Buy more lenses, more filters, more copying devices, lanterns, enlargers, and every other device you can afford if you will use them. Learn how they operate; learn the function of every colored filter you get, try out the enlarger under every different condition you can think of and then you will have a real excuse in buying all the different things. But, if you don’t use htem, then there is no excuse for them and eventually you will sell them to some other amateur who will make use of them and at a bargain.” SAME ISSUE: Beers, Nathan Thomas. “The Miniature Camera”: “Gadgets and Short-Cuts.–In the ustle which frequently becomes necessary in the processing of exposures made in connection with one’s profesiosnal work, any gadget or short-cut calculated to save time is certain to be acceptable. There are many of us who have learned the convenience of the miniature camera in making photographic records… […] Figure 1 shows a little gadget which has served us very satisfactorily as a rest or cradle in which to place the reel while being loaded. The M-shaped section may be turned up of tin or aluminum, or made of wood. Ours was made of a sheet of Monel metal and is mounted on a block of wood on the bottom of which four felt corn-plasters serve to give a little grip on the table or bench. […] Figure 2 shows how a tell-tale made by a bit of folded card, and slipped into the finder-=clip, tells at a glance exactly the contents of the film magazine or whether the camera be empty. Where one makes use of two or more cameras of this type this little gadget saves much time. On one side may be printed or written the name of the film being used and on the reverse side the word ‘empty.’”

, 1939. “Chromium plated gadgets and super-streamlining will sell an automobile, but to keep it sold without complaints is the reason why manufacturers maintain elaborate inspection equipment. for example: at the right is shown one of the tests employed by one motor-car maker. Steering knuckles are being magnetized prior to inspection for forging flaws.”

Rathbone, A.D., 1939. “ It’s a vast and controversial subject, this matter of guns and ammunition, and there may be times when you heartily disagree with what we have to say. By the same token there will be other instances when you are in accord with the thoughts expressed, but in any event, it is your department, conducted for your pleasure and your information. Ranging through the fields of shot­ guns, rifles, handguns, their applications, ammunitions, and all their various affiliated gadgets, we plan to present unusual and informative angles, current news, and timely data on new developments. Our mail box is of generous proportions-we sincerely trust you will test its capacity to the fullest extent.”

Deschlin, Jacob, 1939. “We admit that, like other camera users, we desire occasionally–and, when we can afford it, fulfill the desire–to trade in our camera for a new one, one equipped with the newer gadgets. They are hard to resist, those handsomely contrived, new camera models, not only because they are good to look at but the new gadgets are real improvements and signify advances in camera design. Nevertheless, no matter how long or short the period during which a camera is actually in our position it was a new one when we bought it and that, for us at least, is important.”

Nock, Albert Jay, 1939. “In other words, I should not be surprised if the youngest generation were taking a realistic view of politics. They are probably looking at government simply as a gadget, and deciding that the trouble with it is nothing but the old notorious trouble with gadgets–which is that they mostly don’t work. The scout’s young men may be taking the practical, hard-boiled view that government is a gadget which is meant to work for the good of society while you sleep, and is not doing it. This is a good sound view. Looking at government as a gadget, here are a few questions which come up. … First, then, since the governmental gadget is supposed to work for the rest of society, how can it best do that?”

, 1939. “who can assist by reason of the right contacts with large business interests, in exploring an invention as universally applicable as steam. A test plant is nearly completed and together with the patent situation amply financed. This is not another gadget but something of epoch-making importance. There is nothing like it in existence and the art is susceptible of profitable development in a hundred directions for years to come. The man is more important than the $5,000 which he must be prepared to lose, but the chances are better than 50% for him to make a million, if the test plant operates, and extensive and expensive research and independent checking indicate it will.”

Hatfield, W.D., 1939. “First Prize: Gadget Contest at the Neenah-Menasha Meeting of the Central States Sewage Works Association, Oct. 20, 1983. This gadget was more than a gadget and would be classed as an apparatus. It was Don E. Bloodgood’s apparatus for determining the rate of oxygen utilization by activated sludge. This apparatus is described by him in the paper which he presented at the above meeting, published on page 927, Vol. 10 (November, 1938) of This Journal. The cost is very small compared to well known apparatus on the market, and is said to be more accurate.”

, 1939. “He then introduced Vannevar Bush ‘15, President of the carnegie Institution and a former Vice-President of the Institute. / Dr. Bush talked on gadgets and gadgeteers, stating that they dated from Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. He described the telephone as one of the gadgets now fully developed. ‘For a long time,’ he said,’ we all thought that…”

Saroyan, William, 1939. “NICK (Watching the toy all this time) Say, that really is something. What is that, anyway? MARY L. comes in. JOE (Holding it toward NICK, and MARY L.) Nick, this is a toy. A contraption devised by the cunning of man to drive boredom, or grief, or anger out of children. A noble gadget. A gadget, I might say, infinitely nobler than any other I can think of at the moment. Everybody gathers around Joe’s table to look at the toy. The toy stops working. JOE winds the music box. Lifts a whistle: blows it, making a very strange, funny and sorrowful sound.Delightful. Tragic, but delightful. WESLEY plays the music-box theme on the piano.MARY L. takes a table.”

Friedrich, Carl Joachim, 1939. “Here again France is facing a situation which is common to all highly industrialized countries. The so-called bottlenecks of industrial production are looming large in Germany, England, even the United States, and professional economists everywhere are coming to insist that you may have large unemployment along with a serious shortage of skilled labor? indeed, paradoxically enough, the labor shortage may to a considerable extent be responsible for unemployment. The failure of one highly specialized factory manufacturing a particular gadget may hold up a great deal of industrial production which depends directly or indirectly upon that particular gadget. All that the November decrees did was to charge the Axe Committee with studying these bottlenecks and devising plans for a more effective distribution of labor.”

Staff Correspondent, 1939. “Press Conference was all over yesterday but President Roosevelt called it back, holding aloft a small mechanical gadget over which he appeared to be as happy as a boy. Asking if reporters could remember the old cyclometer that used to record mileage on bicycles, President Roosevelt proudly explained that this new contrivance worked after the same fashion, to measure the electricity used in a small house. And instead of costing $10.00 which is what the big meter costs, this new one would cost about halt that. Mr. Roosevelt was so pleased with it that he held it aloft from his swivel chair all the time he talked”

Yates, Raymond F., 1939. “Napoleon decorated Joseph Marie Jacquard for his invention of Jacquard cards, those perforated little pieces of paper that control looms in such a way as to make them weave predetermined designs repetitiously. Now produced by automatic machinery, these cards are still expensive. Inasmuch as a separate card is needed for each thread of weft, a mere 10-inch design may require 800 cards which cost a little more than $100.00 to make. Not so with the Lefler robot. The cost has plummeted to $5.00. With this surprisingly simple gadget, the most intricate designs may be faithfully duplicated. Merely writing one’s name on a copper plate is sufficient to initiate an action that eventuates in the appearance of // that name woven into cloth with every shade and inflection perfectly preserved. A delicate electric finger plays over the inked copper master and delivers an electronically-amplified current to a series of small electromagnets each of which controls a needle of the loom.”

Harrison, George Russell, 1939. “A radio receiver, in addition to being a musical instrument, is also unfortunately a piece of furniture and a complex scientific gadget. As a musical instrument it finds its response limited at high frequencies by station-crowding in the wavelength bands, which at present sets a legal upper limit of 5000 cycles, while furniture fashion cuts off the low frequencies by preventing the use of a suitable loud-speaker.”