Gadgetry v1.3

A functional and fictional device.

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Skelsey, Alice, 1970. “It is worth extra money to know that when your washing machine begins that low moan that will end in a gasping jerk and a tub left full of water, you can call for a repairman and have a reasonable chance of having him show up on a not too distant date. In selecting any appliance, buy only the conveniences you need. Every extra working gadget on an appliance increases the possibilities of things going wrong often, it seems, in geometric progression. Each appliance has certain basic functions for saving time and labor. Beyond these, think carefully about each additional feature to decide whether it will be of value to you. The top-of-the-line model in the middle or even the bottom line only in the number of extra, but minor, features plus a little trim here or there. Such features may or may not save time […]”

Skelsey, Alice, 1970. “Is there a fuse blown and you haven’t noticed because you haven’t been anywhere else in the house? Are the control buttons correctly set and pushed in or turned all the way? Is the door or lid closed securely? A careful check first can save you time, money and a good deal of chagrin when a hastily summoned repairman does nothing more than reach down and nonchalantly push the electric plug back into the socket. A word about some of the lesser labor-savers, the kitchen gadgets, in particular. Think about them before you buy them. If they will not represent a real convenience, or you would not use them regularly, forget them. They take up valuable space, add to clutter, and do not pay their way in saving time. Sometimes they waste time. The mechanical hand chopper has not yet been invented that will do a more efficient job than a good sharp knife and a supple wrist attached to the arm of an accomplished cook.”

, 1970. “But the device-which is designed to screen drunks by testing judgment, visual acuity, short-term memory and coordinated motor response-will also weed out drug users and those who are mentally or physically deficient. To satisfy the demanding gadget, a driver must be able to read the relatively small lighted numbers, memorize them, recall them, and punch them into the keyboard in a coordinated response within a few seconds. If he can perform these functions he is fit for the road. If he cannot-in three tries-the tester shuts off for a half-hour, giving him time to sober up before another attempt. General Motors is aware that the public will not stampede to buy and install the testers, no matter how inexpensive they are.”

Friedman, Bruce Jay, 1970. “Early the next morning he bought a small TV set from a tiny Japanese man who said it was a new model and was very proud of it. Towns couldn’t get over how sharp and clear the picture was. He was not very mechanical, but he loved tiny, intricately made gadgets and had a vision of filling up a warm, comfortable apartment with them, living in it and spending most of his time turning them on and off. He felt a sudden burst of love for the tiny Japanese man who was practically a transistor himself and wanted to bend over and give him a hug. The fellow was very tiny and Towns wondered what would happen if he caught a disease that made you lose weight. He would probably just get a little smaller and stay all right.”

Friedman, Bruce Jay, 1970. “[…] the feeling that no little TV set could survive a shot like that so he took it out of the box, attached the battery pack and switched it on in the terminal. Some sputtering pictures showed up. “ See that, “ said the porter, “ she coming in good. “ It came as no great surprise to Towns when the pictures bleeped out and turned to darkness. There was a package of warranties in the box, but Towns had no heart to get started with them. Besides, he had the feeling that once a mechanical gadget was injured, it went downhill no matter what you did to it. He gave the porter a look and then tossed the set lightly into a trash container. Someone in the terminal said the astronauts were going to be down in forty-five minutes. There wasn’t any time to fool around now.”

, 1970. “Lately there is a new symbol of status. Free of charge, Washington’s C &; P Telephone Co. has installed ten of its still experimental “ picturephones “ in the offices of the highest presidential advisers. The gadgets, small TV sets attached to the telephone, allow the presidential elite to dial-in one another’s images as well as voices-not that any one of them is likely to forget what the others look like. Apart from broadcasting status, the picturephones contribute little to the smoother workings of Government. To Egghead Kissinger, they are a technological mystery. He will not call on the device, but does take calls, with a bit of fuming and fussing as he tries to work the thing.”

Strong, C.L., 1970. “An oscillator is an essential element of apparatus as diverse as pendulum clocks, jackhammers, radios, lasers, hy­draulic rams and electronic heart pace­makers. For every kind of oscillator that has been put to work at least a dozen other kinds repose on laboratory shelves as interesting but useless gadgets. Three new examples of such gadgetry recently came to the attention of this department. The first of the three, which is known as a salt oscillator, is the creation of Seelye Martin of the University of Washington.”

Fox, Paula, 1970. “of those she had in Brooklyn. She picked up a round tin box and shook it to hear the rattle of the cooky cutters inside, then recalled suddenly the face of a summer friend of theirs, a painter who had visited them frequently in August. She recalled how he had picked up each gadget on this counter and held it close to his face, tracing its shape with his fingers and how, when he arrived, he washed his hands in the kitchen sink, using the yellow kitchen soap. She had liked him very much, liked his substantial, handsome face, the way the […]”

Richardson, Jack, 1970. “[…] hundred-dollar bill and presented it to Sally, indicating which of her buying plans had interested me. I expected her to look disappointed. but somewhere she had learned to keep her expectations at a minimum, and, without fuss, she snapped the money into her purse, sent me a naughty reproach with her eyes when I groped for her, and went off: to the bathroom to prepare her pre-coital toilet. I stretched out on the bed and waited. This was an interim which I had grown used to since the advent of intimate hygiene and devilish gadgets to yard off conception. One no longer coaxed and vheedled a woman into bed, there to have her in a twirl of unconsidered passion. No, now, at the nace nent when Molly Bloom said “ yes, “ at the instant shell the dark declivities are moist and ready, there: comes a whispered entreaty for patience and the wavy clump of footsteps in the darkness as the lady slips away to her vaginal laboratory.”

Hsu, Sung-peng, 1970. “In adult life, in depressive and schizophrenic states, suicides and macabre mutilations are performed in the kitchen; and death by gas oven asphyxiation is a common type of suicide. Cases are reported where the individuals put their heads into the oven. The obsessive-compulsive neurotic fears sharp instruments and constantly worries about the gas heater being turned off or the toaster being disconnected. In the hysterical individual, the appliances often symbolize objects of both an oral and genital nature, wherever there can be substitute gratification and punishment. The hysterical patient may be fascinated with gadgetry and at the same time be worried about the safety of such automatic controls as timers, defrosters, and thermostats, as are built into the appliances. All modes of energy are transformed, neutralized, and regulated in the service of making life easier and supposedly more pleasureful. Very often the hope is that new devices will be both labor-saving and in the long run “ pay for themselves. “ Abetting the economic factor is the condensation of many processes and functions in the same unit.”

Shepard, Sam, 1970. “Act 1, Scene 7 SCENE 7 The Air Force Laboratory at Fort George. Test tubes, vials, bunsen burners, a general clutter of chemical and electronic gadgets. In the middle of all this is DOCTOR VECTOR, sitting in a wheelchair, dressed in a white chemist’s smock. He is very tiny and his entire body is twisted and bent. He wears extra thick dark glasses and elevator shoes and speaks with a weird shifting accent. When he wants to move his wheelchair he presses a button on one of the arms and the chair propels itself electronically.”

Schmitz, James H., 1970. “All right. The punk’s opened the cubicle a crack, looking like he’s about to pass out while he’s doing it. This bearded guy, Eltak, stands in front of the cubicle, holding the gadget he controls the thing with…. ‘’ ’’ Where’s the gadget now? ‘‘Quillan asked. “ Marras Cooms’s got it. “ “ How does it work? “ Baldy shook his head. “ We can’t figure it out. It’s got all kinds of little knobs and dials on it. Push this one an’ it squeaks, turn that one an’ it buzzes. Like that. “ Quillan nodded. “ All right. What happened? “ “ Well, Movaine tells the old guy to go ahead an ‘ do the demonstrating. The old guy sort of grins and fiddles with the gadget. The rest cubicle door pops open an’ this thing comes pouring out.I never seen nothin’ like it! It’s like a barn door with dirty fur on it. It swirls up an’ around an’ – my God! – it wraps its upper end clean around…”

Schmitz, James H., 1970. “Well, “ Quillan said after a pause, “ in a way, Movaine got his demonstration. The Hlats can move through solid matter and carry other objects along with them, as advertised. If Yaco can work out how it’s done and build a gadget that does the same thing, they’re getting the Hlats cheap. What happened then? “ “ I told Marras Cooms about Movaine, and he sent me and a half-dozen other boys back up here with riot guns to see what we could do for him. Which was nothin’,[…]”

Porterfield, Nolan, 1970. “several strangely marked metal rules, a ball of twine, a cigarette-making machine, plastic cigarette cases with oval holes cut out of them, four ignition points, half-a-dozen ball bearings, a miniature hale of cotton, three shot glasses, and a handful of the oddly shaped little steel plates like the one Elliott had seen Grady cleaning his shoes with. “ Makeup rules, “ Grady said. “ I thought it might be some new kind of guitar pick. What’s a makeup rule? “ “ Printer’s gadget. Use it to build ads, make up straight matter, clean your fingernails, open beer, most anything that needs prying, scraping, screwing, or splitting. “ “ You a printer? “ “ Mostly. Let’s see how it goes.””

, 1970. “New York City’s Parks Department had a problem: tree thieves. One night somebody pinched 80 rhododendrons along upper Fifth Avenue; last year thieves dug up and hauled away more than $55,000 worth of newly planted shrubs and trees. Now the Parks people rig each new planting with a chain shackled to a stake. The stake is dropped into the hole and turned horizontally. Then the plant roots are arranged around the stake, the hole is filled and the entire gadget concealed with earth. The Parks Department claims it has foiled at least one would-be thief. Workmen in Central Park recently found a plant with all the dirt dug out around its roots, but still firmly anchored to its stake.”

Philip, Phylis Morrison, 1970. “The pace is lively and the tone sure. Ancient bureaucracy gets no char­ity from Hodges; weighing very lightly a good deal of evidence, he is committed to the superior inventiveness of unstable periods in history. Materials engage his interest most easily; it is clear that he prefers chemistry to physics. One mar­velous gadget is a bronze sickle with a wooden handle cunningly fitted to the user’s thumb and fingers that “would un­doubtedly win an award at any design center.” It was made by an alpine peas­ant craftsman 3,000 years ago.”

Malamud, Bernard, 1971. “Shortly after noon––after a nearby siren yelped for a few seconds to remind one, if he had forgotten, of the perilous state of the world––Willie kicked on Lesser’s door with the heel of his shoe, holding in both arms, in fact weighed down by it, his massive typewriter. Lesser, for a surprised second, couldn’t imagine why he had come, was startled by the sight of him. Willie wore a blue-and-purple sack-like woolen African tunic over his overalls. His hair wasn’t Afro-styled, as Lesser had thought, but combed straight as though against the grain, with a part on the left side, and raised in back like a floor plank that had sprung up. The stringy goatee flowering under his chin lengthened his face and seemed to emphasize the protrusive quality of his eyes, more white than brown. Standing, he was about five ten, taller than Lesser had imagined. “ Could I park this gadget here till the morning? I would hate to have it stolen out of my office. I been hiding it in the closet but that ain’t hiding, if you dig. “ Lesser, after hesitation, dug. “ Are you through for the day? “ “ What’s it to you? “ “ Nothing, I only thought? “ “ I go on from eight to twelve or thereabouts, “ said the black, “ full four hours’ work and then goof off?”

Trow, George, 1971. “You’d want it to be able to telephone the police automatically. But I’ve decided, for now, not to get involved in the financial and legal transactions I’d have to have with the phone company before I’d he allowed to connect the computer to the phone and have it place calls or answer the phone when was away and dialled it to get a status report on the house. ‘’ Mr. Prugh is quick to admit that a number of relatively inexpensive gadgets – a clock, a calculator, a player piano, a text-editing typewriter,a burglar-alarm system, and so on – can, separately, perform many of the tasks his computer has learned, and also that his computer is “ not what we at the Defense Department call cost-effective. “ However, he admires the computer’s versatility (“ No clock can cope with my income taxes “), and he believes that a home computer will be economically feasible in the not very distant future.”

Weiss, Paul A., 1971. “This brings me to the crux of my argument. Throughout the phase of history which we have come to survey, till very recently, to be a scientist was a calling, not a job. Scientists were men of science, not just men in science. They had come to science driven by an inner urge, curiosity, a quest for knowledge, and they knew, or learned, what it was all about. They were not drawn or lured into science in masses by fascinating gadgets, public acclaim, manpower needs of industries and governments, or job security; nor did they just drift in for no good reason. The scene, however, is now changing rapidly. The popularity and needs of an expanding science bring in more drifters and followers than pioneers. […] What were their guides; Ideas, not gadgets, not the need to publish. Ideas, in turn, sprout from the fertile soil of experience.”

Birnbaum, Norman, 1971. “… many people today flee from the realities of power into psychological interpretations of social behavior in order to avoid the challenge of contemporary political faiths or to restore a wished-for malleability to politics by reliance on a new analytical gadget. Nevertheless, it should be equally obvious that a political realism that ignores the dimensions of character, that ignores how people interpret power configurations on the basis of their psychic needs, will only be useful in short-run interpretations and not always even there, “ The Lonely Crowd, p. 179”

Hahn, Emily, 1971. “During my latest visit to Madison, I found Connie busily taking notes in a room containing two cages not side by side, but connected here and there with wires and tubes. Each held a baby monkey and a number of tiny, mysterious gadgets: handles, buttons, and boxes of differing dimensions. “ I’m testing their learning ability and reactions, “ she explained. “ This one on my right can turn on a picture show whenever he likes? colored slides, you know, one after another, on that little screen thing. When he gets tired of watching those, he can get himself a drink of water by pulling the string here. He can make this toy slide up and down, and open that inner door or […]”

Ruff, Larry, 1971. “To understand it we must first realize that we are going to make very little real progress in solving the problem of pollution until we recognize it for what, primarily, it is: an economic problem which must he understood in economic terms. Of course, there are noneconomic aspects of pollution, as there are with all economic problems, but all too often, such secondary matters dominate discussion. Engineers, for example, are certain that pollution will vanish once they find the magic gadget or power source. Politicians keep trying to find the right kind of bureaucracy: and bureaucrats maintain an unending search for the correct set of rules and regulations. Those who are above such vulgar pursuits pin their hopes on a moral regeneration or social revolution, apparently in the belief that saints and socialists have no garbage to dispose of.”

Connolly, Stephen and Peter Shapiro, 1971. “[…] high-powered missile acquisition radar, used in tracking intercontinental ballistic missiles fired from Vandenberg, emanated lethal radiation throughout the area; needless to say, elaborate safety precautions for Navy personnel were not extended to the luckless Marshall Islanders. Today the Nike-Zeus system has been made obsolete by a more sophisticated nuclear gadget – the Nike-X defensive missile system (ABM). Kwajalein, now the site of a $165 million Missile Site Radar system (MSR) that serves as a seeing eye for ABM’s Spartan and Sprint defense missiles, participates in more than 15,000 operations a year.”

Kerouc, Jack, 1972. “[…]others stood around carrying the beers, the whiskey, the whatnot like altarbearers but with considerably more guilt and with a stirring in their gut that you feel in a whorehouse when you’re told to wait for the girl and suddenly you hear high-heel steps coming down the hall and envision the legs, the garters, the thighs, the panties, the breasts, the throat, the face, the hair of the woman coming – This was exactly the way they felt when Johnson unhooked the storm door with that delicacy of thumb and forefinger you need for such gadgets and as though he was unfastening a brassiere from the bulge-back of the house. Wild children opened the door; there was a lot of stumbling over things on the porch floor but Cody never dreamed that one of the crazy little giggling girls who had been sent by the gals to open up while they brush up the last wave was Joanna Dawson his future wife. In America it’s always two girls and one is always older and uglier than the other, except in this case it was more accurate[…]”

Young, Perry Deane, 1972. “The striking thing about the stories, when I listen to the tape now, is that they are both laughing over and over about the absurdity of the situation that our brother journalists were (are) attempting to record as another solemn chapter in the continuing history of warfare, meanwhile celebrating the old macho exhilaration of being shot at and missed. Flynn and Stone enjoyed the war. So did every other correspondent in Vietnam. We enjoyed the bitter humor and the proximity to all the gadgetry of war; even those of us who never shared the all-American fascination with weapons of death got a certain charge from being with those who did. We were heirs to the tradition of war, and war still meant finding the personal courage to edge right up to death while staying calm. It was no more or less complicated than a response to the ultimate challenge as outdated and senseless as a barroom showdown. And so we had this war, and my friends and I had to be there.”

Harrison, Harry, 1972. “His ring key unlocked the bottom drawer of his desk and he took out a small electronic device with controls and an extendible aerial on top. “ Well look at that! “ I said when he pulled out the aerial. Ile didn’t answer me, just shot a long look at me from under his eyebrows, and went back to adjusting the thing. Only when it was turned on and the green light glowed on the top did he relax a bit. “ You know what this is? “ he asked, pointing at the gadget. “ Of course, “ I said. “ But not from seeing them on Freibur. They aren’t that common. “ “ They aren’t common at all, “ he mumbled, staring at the green light which glowed steadily. “ As far as I know this is the only one on the planet – so I wish you wouldn’t mention it to anybody. Anybody, “ he repeated with emphasis. “ Not my business, “ I told him with disarming lack of interest.”

Harrison, Harry, 1972. “Seconds later they were conferring over a blown-up print of the fillings in my teeth. There was a mutual decision that one of them was unduly large and had a rather unusual shape. A sinister looking array of dental gadgetry emerged and they had the filling out in an instant. While the tooth was being refilled with enamel – l’ll say that much for them – the original filling was being zapped by a spectroscope. They seemed neither depressed nor elated when its metallic content proved to be that of an aecel) ted dental alloy.”

Smyth, Ed, 1972. “The nail clipper is real handy for snipping loose ends or snarled leaders. To date, it’s been my most-used gadget. The knife is for opening up your first trout to see what he’s been feeding on.”

, 1972. “Perhaps the most common devices now being offered to fed-up Manhattanites are inexpensive ($5 and under) tear-gas sprays, available in many drugstores. Often combined with dye that marks an attacker for police identification, these sprays come disguised as everything from cigarette lighters to lipsticks. There is also the $9.98 electric shock rod, a gadget that operates on four ordinary flashlight batteries and, according to the firm that markets it, releases “ enough power to stop an angry bull in its tracks. “ The rod is more likely to prove shocking to the user when it fails to deter the attacker.”

, 1972. “In the tradition of the electric toothbrush and the high-speed electric cocktail mixer, the latest effort-saving gadget is the Name Caller, which does away with the need of dialing a telephone. By pressing a button on the device, which can be easily attached to the phone, a user can reach any one of 38 numbers. Besides its speed and convenience, the Name Caller provides a foolproof way for a baby sitter to phone police, firemen or the family doctor in an emergency. The gadget-about the size of a small bathroom scale-has been available for only four months in seven major markets.”

Hey, Robert P. , 1972. “But stuck somewhere in every exhaust system will be a gadget called a catalytic converter. Its job is to get rid of most of two serious polluting components of auto exhaust? hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. The next year, when the 1976 cars debut, there’ll be a device which gets rid of the third deadly sin of auto exhausts? nitrogen oxides.”

, 1972. “Other than his merchandising interests and his fondness for tinkering with electrical gadgets, Muntz had also been involved in auto racing during the 1930s, owning three midget racers. Being retired at last, he now saw himself sliding slowly into a funk of boredom.”

Novitski, Joseph, 1972. “If exports continue at their present rate, there will not be nearly enough money to pay the debt after Argentines get through importing raw materials for industry and foreignmade gadgets and luxury goods. To avoid political trouble, the- military government has been trying to keep wages ahead of prices by printing money and pumping it into the economy.”

Birmingham, Frederic A., 1972. “By this time, Gloriana, being young and basically healthy, had completely revived. She thanked us for our rescue efforts, and began prattling along enthusiastically about how much she was enjoying what she considered a great adventure, and how much she admired the woods, the mountains, the beautiful white snow, and the entire State of Vermont. Meanwhile, I was congratulating myself on this extraordinary piece of good luck. Monkeyface had not yet arrived to strike a sour note by arguing and objecting. So Gadget and I had a clear field to pour on the syrup. And we did a wonderful job. We agreed with everything Gloriana said. We suggested gently that we were all three of us a group of nature lovers, and that Monkeyface, although a bit gruff and tough on the outside, was inwardly more of a true nature lover than anybody.”

Silverberg, Robert, 1972. “We do the serotonin diffraction in here. This room’s plasma research; remind me to bring you back sometime when the big centrifuge is running. Fascinating stuff. This is Klaus’s enzyme lab – I’d take you in, but he’s such a touchy bastard that there’s no sense provoking him needlessly – and down here… “ Harker puffed along behind the lab director, dazzled by the array of formidable and incomprehensible gadgetry, bewildered by the flow of unfamiliar terminology. He smiled a lot and tried to look as if he followed at least the rudiments. But he doubted that he was deceiving Raymond. He saw kennels where lively dogs bounded joyfully up and down and struggled to lick his hands through the cage; it was a little jarring to learn that every dog in the room had been dead at least once, from periods ranging from a few minutes to twenty-eight hours.”

, 1973. “This, however, is a mere drop in the fuel tank when compared with the investments of the Unlimited pilots. Cliff Cummins, a Riverside, Calif. radiologist and consistently star-crossed flyer, estimates that he has sunk some $140,000 into his Mustang fighter in the years he has owned it. Cummins, who was once an Air Force gunnery instructor, belly-landed the Mustang in the Nevada desert three years ago during the Reno air races after a small throttle link snapped. The very same gadget failed him on the sixth lap of the eight-lap semifinal heat in Miami on Saturday. Cummins was leading at the time and had recorded the fastest qualifying-heat time of 376.8 mph earlier in the week.”

Elkin, Stanley, 1973. “I’ve taken a great many pains, Mr. Crainpool – and gone to considerable expense, too, I might add – to reinforce your clerk’s ambience, to clericalize you. Yet you persist in your taste for the newfangled. I suppose you’ve been thinking in terms of electric typewriters and Xerox machines. What’s next, sir, conference telephones, gadgets that take your calls? Mr. Crainpool is unavailable right now. Your message will be recordedand played back for him when he returns. Please begin speaking when you hear the electronic bleep… Bleep.’ “ “ No, sir. “ “ No, sir.’ You’re damned right, sir, no sir. And what happens to the thick ledgers with the careful rulings inked down the center of the page? The big gray and black cardboard boxes with their snaps and clasps and […]”

, 1973. “Besides fishing, Nixon rides around the 125-acre island on a golf cart, and swims in the shark-filled waters-always, of course, under close watch by Secret Service agents. Abplanalp was born in The Bronx to Swiss immigrant parents. His father was a machinist who instilled in his son a liking for gadgetry and tinkering. Abplanalp studied engineering at Villanova, but dropped out to open his own machine shop.”

, 1973. “All an expert would need in the way of equipment to alter tapes would be a recording studio, two to four quality tape recorders, a variety of auxiliary gadgets and perhaps an echo chamber. First he would listen to the tape over and over again until he felt at home with the speech patterns-voice modulation as well as breathing space. When he was satisfied that he knew the voices as well as his own, he would do the easy part first-simply cutting out certain words or sentences with a razor blade and splicing the tapes together.”

, 1973. “Bentsen sees himself as a pragmatist with a healthy concern for the taxpayers’ burdens. He’ considered the supersonic transport “ a piece of technological elegance this country couldn’t afford, “ and even if it could he didn’t think it should be charged to the tax? payers. He doesn’t buy every gadget the Pentagon wants. As subcommittee chairman he bucked Chair? man John Stennis of Senate Armed Services on accelerated development of the Trident submarine because it struck him as poorly managed and a waste of money (perhaps $500 million).”

Walker, Graham, 1973. “Beale engines perform in any orientation-vertical, horizontal, inclined or upside down. They are amazingly simple in construction and do not depend on springs, valves or any kind of mechanical gadget.”

Buechner, Frederick, 1974. “First I thought I was going to be sick, and then I thought I was going to die. Then I thought I was sick and dead both. Along the side of big roads you sometimes find a billboardpainted on something like a Venetian blind so that when the slats are tilted one way, there is one picture, and then, when by some inner gadgetry the slats are tilted the other way, there gradually appears another picture, and that is how it happened there in Brownie’s kitchen. First I was looking at one thing, then I was looking at another.”

Castaneda, Carlos, 1974. “I felt an anxiety building up in my chest. I became so agitated that I dropped my writing pad, and my pencil rolled out of sight. Don Juan and don Genaro immediately began a most farcical search for it. I had never seen a more astonishing performance of theatrical magic and sleight of hand. Except that there was no stage, or props, or any type of gadgetry, and the performers did not seem to be using sleight of hand. Don Genaro, the head magician, and his assistant, don Juan, produced in a matter of minutes the most astounding, bizarre, and outlandish collection of objects which they found underneath, or behind, or above every object within the periphery of the Jumada. In the style of stage magic, don Genaro would proceed to find an object, which he would throw away as soon as he had attested that it was not […]”

Rhodes, Richard, 1974. “Subterrene is one of the more successful LASL programs, modest in cost and highly visible, a gadget that fulfills every little Leonardo’s dream and is practical as well. What a Subterrene can do is drill holes with its superhot “ penetrator “ in almost any kind of rock or soil and line them with their own “ glass “ pipes. The holes can be drilled vertically or horizontally or at any angle between, more practically and at less cost than most conventional holes, because the Subterrene turns the material that fills the hole into lava, which can then be extracted in several different forms.”

, 1975. “Until the mid-1960s, air-traffic controllers had to rely on old-fashioned radar to scan the skies and keep track of moving “ blips “ that represented individual aircraft. Now the controllers’ vision has been increased enormously by improved radar and new electronic gadgetry. Every aircraft that flies above 18,000 ft. and in designated control areas carries a radar transponder that answers ground radar by flashing an identifying signal.”

Woiwode, Larry, 1975. “M-m-m, well, it varies. With thousands of shipping outfits plying these lanes, we can expect several craft per year to stop by, though we never know in advance. However, what we do know is if anybody’s within thirty – forty kilometers. A little gadget that detects thoughts. So you can’t monitor us unbeknownst. We can warn off ships; they do radio us from orbit before landing. Chances are they’d come down anyway, but maintain camouflage. All you’d observe or photograph would be a colored blur like ordinary ball lightning.”

, 1975. “There are two basic kinds of security systems. The first is “ perimeter “ defense, or covering-the exterior of a facility to guard against entry. The second is “ volume, “ or spatial intrusion defense, to detect an intruder once he is inside. The options in these categories are almost endless. Sensor Systems, Inc., of 2 N. Riverside Plaza, which designs and markets security systems for some of Chicago’s largest commercial and institutional clients, specializes in sophisticated gadgetry. It recently helped design a nearly foolproof perimeter system for a Chicago area plant handling nuclear materials.”

, 1975. “Of what use are they except as criminal weapons? With attempts at gun control, how about knife control? As a start, how about a Sullivan Law banning all knife sales to juveniles and banning the sale of novelty knives in souvenir and gadget stores in the Times Square area and elsewhere? Stabbing homicides may take a sharp drop if these steps are taken.”

Vacroux, André G., 1975. “Evolutionary successor of the minicomputer, the microcomputer is a set of microelectronic “chips” serving the various computer functions. It has opened up new realms of computer applications. […] In the 1980s microcomputers will be commonplace in the home in consumer electronic products, appliances, security devices and innumerable gadgets and toys.”

, 1975. “Try to conceive of the quantity of energy being wasted throughout the country by pilot lights on stoves burning 24 hours a day. Then hearken to this suggestion: Extinguish all pilot lights and seal them. As a substitute for them I remember my grandmother used a gadget, which to the best of my recollection is called a match.”

DeLillo, Don, 1976. “The only thing he could see was a tricycle in the background, dimly. “ Big B., can you hear me? “ “ Where are you? “ “ It’s Endor. “ “ Talking from where? “ “ On the floor, “ the voice said. “ Don’t want you to see me. But I want you to hear. Can you do that? “ “ You’re coming in weak. “ “ How about now? “ “ Better. “ “ I’m down on the floor shouting up into the talk gadget. Don’t try to see me. Do you know where I am? “ “ Down on the floor. “ “ I mean where in what locale. “ “ The hobby room. “ “ Good guess. “ “ I recognized the tricycle. “ “ That’s where I am, all right. Walked in early this morning. Came in from the hole. Came limping through the mud and grass. I’ve been digging, lad. Clawing my way down.”

DeLillo, Don, 1976. “” I don’t accept the call. “ “ That voice sounded familiar, “ Simjian said. “ Was that who I think it was? “ “ Yes. “ “ Because if it was, he’s famous for his personal sleaziness. “ “ He’s completely self-taught. “ “ Not to mention the tasteless events he likes to host, “ she said. “ Degenerate ceremonies featuring objects and gadgets that mock our bodies. “ | “ Speaking of ceremonies, “ Maidengut said, “ I have some depressing news for almost everyone here. A torch-lighting ceremony is scheduled for the Great Hall. Tomorrow at dusk. All thirty-two of the resident Nobel laureates are supposed to be in attendance. “ “ What’s depressing about that? “ Simjian said. “ Nobel laureates only. Nobody else allowed. Pretty inconsiderate if you ask me. They might have included some of the rest of us. “”

DeLillo, Don, 1976. “Reread mythology, dark devouring parents, reread it constantly. You ate up my old friend Louis B. and you almost got me. Our neighbor John Burtz was found swinging from the ceiling of his farm shed last week by one of his seven children. He had wound a noose around his throat, then pulled the hydraulic lift of his bulldozer. He was a laughing, brawny man with meat on his breath, it was said that he loved machines excessively, that he was gadget crazy, deeply in debt. At the funeral, his two brothers come into the church trying to support his widow by each arm. A useless gesture, since she walks steadfast and crisply, supporting them if anything, with no outward show of grief. At the cemetery they stand very close together in front of the grave, huddled together like cattle seeking warmth, the raw November air pierces like needles, the sky is of the low, unvariegated gray that precurses snow.”

Gardner, Martin, 1976. “Fun and serious business with the small electronic calculator. […] If you could climb into a time machine and go back to ancient Athens for a visit with Aristotle, what could you carry in your pocket that would most aston­ish him? I suggest it would be a pocket calculator. Its Arabic number system, its light-emitting diodes, its miniaturized cir­cuitry isomorphic with Boolean logic (Aris­totle, remember, invented formal logic) and above all its computational speed and power would intrigue him more than any other small object I can think of. / The revolutionary consequences of these miraculous little gadgets are only beginning to be manifest. Among engineers and scientists the slide rule has already become al­most as obsolete as the abacus. It is sad to think of the mathematicians of recent cen­turies who devoted years to the arduous calculation of logarithms and trigonometric functions. Today an engineer finds it takes less time to calculate such numbers all over again on a pocket machine than to look them up in a book or make a slide-rule approximation.”

, 1976. “However, the third Alexander Calder demonstrated from his childhood an adventuresomeness and ingenuity that clearly marked him as no mere follower, even of his talented forebears. Growing up in Arizona, California and New York, young ‘‘Sandy’ Calder tirelessly crafted playthings and other gadgets out of wire, wood and nails. In 1919 he graduated as an engineer from the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., then set out on an eccentric progression of technical jobs. As a boilerman on a passenger liner, he devised a contraption to direct sea breezes into the stifling engine room.”

Anthony, Piers, 1977. “Serena phoned. She was flying into Los Angeles and was free to spend the night with him, she said. He immediately canceled his other plans and agreed to collect her in three hours at the airport. Almost automatically, he asked where she was. “ There is no message, “ she whispered. Levanter took a taxi to the airport. He was half an hour early and dismissed the cab. He wandered through the lounges, watched the departing passengers lined up to pass through the gates of the electronic surveillance gadgetry, had a cup of coffee, and finally went to stand at the entrance of the terminal, where he was to meet her.”

Gardner, Martin, 1978. “To teach arithmetic Peirce recom­mended the constant use of counters such as beans, the early introduction of binary notation, the use of 101 cards numbered 0 through 100 and other de­vices now common in grade school in­struction. In one textbook he wanted to insert a cardboard mechanical gadget for doing multiplication. “The objection to inserting this,” he jotted in a note­book, “would be that the teachers would not understand the mathematical prin­ciple on which it depends, and might therefore be exposed to embarrassing questions.””