Gadgetry v1.3

A functional and fictional device.

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, 1980. “In fact, companies such as General Telephone &; Electronics and ITT are already challenging AT &T’s; dominance over phone equipment by selling telephones themselves, as are a host of smaller firms that have been cranking out toylike phone gadgets that look like beer cans, Mickey Mouse and Superman. The devices connect right up to the Bell lines in homes or offices. AT &T; is fighting back through its 1,800 PhoneCenter retail outlets around the country, which offer an equally broad array telephone designs to customers.”

, 1980. “A poll of the juvenile set in 1937 showed the Little Orphan Annie radio show was No. 1 with kids from 5 to 8 years old. The Lone Ranger was a close second. Kids from 9 to 14 chose the masked man first and’ Annie second. But if you think the old radio characters were popular then, wait till you find out what the gadgets connected with their shows are selling for now. For example, Orphan Annie decoders from 1938,’ 37, and’ 38, are available for $25 from Mark and Lois Jacobs, 702 N. Wells St., Chicago, 60610. They specialize in American collectibles.”

Motley, Francis, 1980. “Customers seem to be perpetually happy with the wastefulness of their economic management. For despite their old car’s serviceability, the owner will trade it in for a new gadget or style change. I have always believed that part of Belle Sherwin’s reasons for wanting me in the Foundation, made in the years after the end of the war, was my professional capacity in the teaching of government.”

Adler, Warren, 1981. “As he scrubbed the stinking dog he remembered inexplicably their Gift of the Magi Christmas. They had vowed to give each other something nonmaterial. He was a senior at Harvard Law then and they were tight for cash, barely able to survive on her job demonstrating kitchen gadgets at Macy’s.”

Carter, E. Graydon, 1981. “Sesame Place develops gadgets to make pedagogy a pleasure # Through the cheerfully gaping maw of Big Bird, beguiled children with parents in tow enter a dazzling futuristic playground designed to make pedagogy a pleasure. Created a year ago by the same people who brought you Kermit the Frog, Ernie and Bert, Sesame Place, in the tamed wilds of Bucks County, Pa., unites outdoor “ participatory “ playgrounds with “ handson “ scientific exhibits. # Various slides provide the perceptive skidder with firsthand knowledge of the battle between gravity and friction”

Benham, Joseph, 1981. “While much of the world switches to smaller cars, Venezuelan motorists crowd South America’s most extensive freeway system in eight-cylinder models laden with gas-guzzling gadgets.”

, 1981. “BACK IN THE good old days, folks wore high button shoes, spats, buttoned gloves, and stiff shirt fronts with a row of little buttons that were hard to manipulate. So little gadgets called “ button hoolts, “ “ buttoners, or sometimes even “ hookers “ were used to do the job. Hutton hooks certainly were born out of necessity, and they were produced in various sizes, styles, shapes, and materials. Because they’re small, easy to display, and usually found for reasonable prices, button hooks are one of the nicest things to get hooked on.”

, 1981. “He laid a few more of his ideas on us, and we’ll settle for one dazzler. THIS IDEA depends on electronic miniaturization. He wants to marry radio and computer technology into a tiny device you wear on your wrist or carry in your pocket The device is prograthmed to broadeast (like a’garage door opener) pertinent’ information such as your age, astrological sign, tastes, and availability for friendship or romance. This gadget sends out messages every 20 seconds, and also receives kindred messageC So you’re out walking in Lincoln Park some day and suddenly your gadget1tarts buzzing, and you look around and see a stranger who also has a buzzing gadget. Instant friendship. He hasn’t named it yet. How about Mt. St. Helen’s Romance Router? Incidentally, we checked with the St Louis Better Business BUreau and the Missouri attorney generes, office, and they, have no beefs against Busch or his company.”

Theroux, Paul, 1982. “We made a wooden platform for the tents to keep their floors dry and hold the tents straight – the stakes had not held in the wet ground. Down at the river we made a trap that funneled fish into a wire cage, and from a simple roof and frame and some of the mosquito netting we built a mosquito-proof gazebo where we could congregate. These were gadgets, not inventions, but they made life more comfortable, and within very few days I could see the skeleton of a settlement in Jeronimo.”

Heinlein, Robert A, 1982. “If I were to elaborate, you would see that each step was perfectly logical and that these gentle sybarites did nothing to rush me. Nor was there even the mildest attempt to seduce me, not even a hint that I had already raped (symbolic rape, at least) my host the night before. Then I shared with them a sybaritic feast in their living room (drawing room, great hall, whatever) in front of a fire that was actually one of Ian’s gadgets. I was dressed in one of Janet’s negligees – Janet’s notion of a dinner-gown negligee would have got her arrested in Christchurch. But it did not cause a pass from either man.”

Clarke, Arthur C., 1982. “Floyd pointed to a flashing arrow on the display screen, which was now showing a complicated circuit diagram. “ You see this line? “ “ Yes – the main power supply. So? “ “ This is the point where it enters Hal’s central processing unit. I’d like you to install this gadget here. Inside the cable trunking, where it can’t be found without a deliberate search. “ “ I see. A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to. Very neat – and a nonconducting blade, too, so there won’t be any embarrassing shorts when it’s triggered. Who makes toys like this? The CIA? “”

King, Stephen, 1982. “When he woke up – or regained consciousness, that was more like it – dawn was just breaking and the hospital was as quiet as Morris supposed it ever got. He felt very calm… almost serene. He had no pain; his body felt swaddled and weightless. His bed had been surrounded by some sort of contraption like a squirrel cage – a thing of stainless steel bars, guy wires, and pulleys. His legs were being held up by cables attached to this gadget. His back seemed to be bowed by something beneath, but it was hard to tell – he had only the angle of his vision to judge by. Others have it worse, he thought. All over the world, others have it worse. In Israel, the Palestinians kill busloads of farmers who were committing the political crime of going into town to see a movie.”

Williamson, Jack, 1982. “The ache of waking was still too sharp for him to bear. In the dream, he had forgotten what he was. Nothing human, but only a gadget. Half machine and half alive, a creation of computer science and genetic engineering, his mind – rather, his own controlling program? patched from bits of skill and know-how the Defender had been expected to require, his human recollections a haphazard mix picked up by lab accident. Floating weightless in the dark birthcell, he explored himself again. The cold and hairless flesh, pliantly metallic. The throbbing umbilical, only slightly warmer, coiling out of darkness to his belly.”

, 1982. “In 1972, Jobs entered Oregon’s Reed College, but he left two years later to ease his family’s financial hardships. He then took a job designing video games at Atari. Wozniak, meanwhile, had dropped out of Berkeley to become a designer at Hewlett-Packard. After hours, Wozniak worked hard building a small, easy-to-use computer. In 1976 he succeeded. The pint-size machine was smaller than a portable typewriter, but it could do the feats of much larger computers. # To Wozniak, the new machine was simply a gadget to show his fellow computer buffs. Jobs, in contrast, saw the commercial potential of the machine that could help families do their personal finance or small businesses control inventories, and he urged that they form a company to market the computer. The two raised $1,300 to open a makeshift production line by selling Jobs’ Volkswagen Micro Bus and Wozniak’s Hewlett-Packard scientific calculator. Jobs, recalling a pleasant summer that he spent working in the orchards of Oregon, christened the new computer Apple.”

Nazario, Sonia, 1983. “Since their 19th-century heyday, they’ve made a few appearances at weddings and as costume novelties. Last year. however. they began to show up frequently at proms as well as at children’s beauty pageants and debutante balls.. Jim Douglass. who makes the gadgets at his House of Hoops Inc in Novato, Calif., says he sold nearly 50.000 hoops last year for $10 to $24 each. Patricia Green of Patricia Green Couture in Atlanta says she has sold 200 or so hoop skirts – in such styles as the “ Miss Scarlett “ and the “ Charleston “? to Saudi Arabians, who buy them mainly for their children. The hoop alone retails for between $30 and $15; with the skirt, the ensemble can cost $130 to $400.”

Price, Charles, 1983. “GIMMICKS HAVE seen mink headcovers, bamboo shafts, concave sand wedges, the twelve-wood, the seven-and-a-half-iron, floating balls, linoleum shoes, dome-shaped tees, distance measurers, girdles that keep your elbows together, an iron that can be converted into everything from a two-iron to a niblick, gadgets that steady your head, and putters as ugly as Stillson wrenches. But the silliest thing I have ever seen in golf is the headcover that goes with the ball retriever. One I saw was made of glove leather, like an Italian shoe, and. was used to protect a retriever made of anodized aluminum, a material that wouldn’t rust if you left it for twenty years in the Great Salt Lake.”

Arthur, Elizabeth, 1983. “Okay, come on over to the chart table. “ The Dallas’ chart table was a new gadget wired into the BC-10 and projected onto a TV-type glass screen four feet square. The display moved as the Dallas moved. This made paper charts obsolete, though they were kept anyway. Charts can’t break.”

, 1983. “In fact, the West German firm of Siemens AG, using a different technology, has built a prototype 14-in. screen just 2.3 in. thick. The prototype will have a more immediate application as a computer accessory than as a home TV screen. But one slender advantage is already possible: the Siemens screen can be folded up for storage or transport. # “ Meanwhile, Sony expects the Watchman to alter, or at least extend, any number of viewing habits. People can gaze at the gadget on the beach, carry it into stadium stands to catch instant replays, use it for soap-opera breaks while at school or work, or take it along on car trips. Predicts Warren Zorek, the manager of the consumer electronics department at Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan: A color version should be on the way before too long, and it isn’t farfetched to foresee hand-held video-game attachments and personal computer compatibility.’”

, 1984. “DOMESTIC FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT: Victorian except for kitchens and bathrooms which are as full of modern gadgets as possible.”

King, Stephen, 1984. “From the pocket of his bulky parka (he had bought it convinced that from the Rockies east, America was a frigid wasteland after October 1st or so – now he was sweating rivers), Morgan Sloat took a small steel box. Below the latch were ten small buttons and an oblong of cloudy yellow glass a quarter of an inch high and two inches long. He pushed several of the buttons carefully with the fingernailof his left-hand pinky, and a series of numbers appeared briefly in the readout window. Sloat had bought this gadget, billed as the world’s smallest safe, in Zurich. According to the man who had sold it to him, not even a week in a crematory oven would breach its carbon-steel integrity. Now it clicked open. Sloat folded back two tiny wings of ebony jeweler’s velvet, revealing something he had had for well over twenty years – since long before the odious little brat who was causing all this trouble had been born. It was a tarnished tin key”

Sturgeon, Theodore, 1984. “This little gadget of mine can send out eight different beams with a total horsepower output of around eight thousand per minute per beam. From each beam you can draw enough power to turn the page of a book or fly a superstratosphere plane. Hold on – I haven’t finished yet. Each beam, as I told you before, returns a signal from receiver to transmitter. This not only controls the power output of the beam, but directs it. Once contact is made, the beam will never let go”

Friedrich, Otto, 1984. “A feat of heart surgery sharpens the debate over benefits and costs # The dying heart was an I ugly yellowish color when Dr. William DeVries finally cut it loose, tore it out of the Mercurochrome-stained chest cavity, and put it to one side. For the next three hours, while a nearby heart-lung bypass machine kept the unconscious patient alive-and while a tape in the background eerily played Mendelssohn and Vivaldi-DeVries’ sure hands carefully stitched into place a grapefruit-size gadget made of aluminum and polyurethane. At 12:50 p.m. last Monday, the Jarvik-7 artificial heart newly sewn inside William J. Schroeder began beating steadily, 70 beats to the minute. When Schroeder opened his eyes 3 hours later in the intensive-care unit, DeVries bent over his patient and whispered assurances, “ The operation is all through. You did really well. Everything is perfect. “ So, for only the second time in history, a human heart had been permanently replaced by a machine.”

Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher, 1985. “I’m completely a picture person when it comes to catalogue browsing. I prefer the rainbow of brightly colored clothes, the gleam of complicated gadgets, the grimace of rugged athletes out there at the edge of their endurance. // Of course, the Banana Republic catalogue is visually appealing, too, in its way, full of drawings and watercolors so stylish that one has to wonder if the real things live up to their images.”

Winerip, Michael, 1985. “” What is this? “ said Mr. Nadel, holding up a small gadget. “ A flashlight, “ said Jeff. “ I need some cooperation, “ said Mr. Nadel. “ This is fun, “ said Jeff. “ What is this? “ said Mr. Nadel. “ A toenail clipper, “ said Jeff. He packed his visor with the radio on it and decided he would carry onto the bus his stuffed, oversize baseball, his tennis racket and his big radio.”

Lubick, Donald and Gerard Brannon, 1985. “In the Surrey Papers of 1969 there were a variety of proposals to nibble at tax preferences, such as a proposal to allocate personal deductions between taxable and non-taxable income and a minimum tax. In one form or another gadget proposals of this sort have played a major role in tax legislation in recent years. The legislative defenders of various tax preferences saw the slight retreat of being subject to a limitation in tax preferences or a minimum tax as a key defense against further reforms. It kept Surrey from talk ing about rich people who paid no tax due to intangible drilling expenses, gifts of appreciated property, etc. … Up to 1984 the Surrey forecast in this area didn’t look good. All that the mini mum did was spawn more complicated gadget type tax reforms. Surrey’s argument was, however, a long-run argument and in 1985 the long run just may have arrived with a Republican Treasury beat ing the drums for Surrey-type tax re forms. While we write this paper the political heat against reform is building and the rumors are that Treasury will com promise with an expanded minimum tax.”

Asimov, Isaac, 1986. “Grant hunched over the wheel and said, “ As important as any one man can be. I grant you that no one is indispensable, but Ralson has always seemed to be rather unique. He has the engineering mentality “ “ What does that mean? “ “ He isn’t much of a mathematician himself, but he can work out the gadgets that put someone else’s math into life. There’s no one like him when it comes to that. Time and again, Inspector, we’ve had a problem to lick and no time to lick it in. There were nothing but blank minds all around until he put some thought into it and said, Why don’t you try so-and-so?’ Then he’d go away. He wouldn’t even be interested enough to see if it worked. But it always did. Always!”

Fisher, Arthur, 1986. “It’s part of a $1.5 million contract awarded last April by NASAs Johnson Space Center, in Houston, for the preliminary design of the huge orbiting space station, scheduled for launch around 1993. The kitchen will have to store a 90-day supply of food for six or seven crew members. It will contain a full complement of amenities? now mostly lacking on the shuttle? including a refrigerator, oven, freezer, dishwasher, trash compactor, food and trash storage, and an inventory-control system. The appliances will be adapted from earthbound kitchen gadgets to operate satisfactorily in a microgravity environment. The idea is to make meals resemble those on Earth as much as possible.”

Kurtz, Katherine, 1986. “” And Perelli, “ Mather continued as the others began dispersing to attend to their new assignments, “ per94 haps you can help me with something else. I want to take our gadget up to engineering and run some tests before I have to confront the captain. Who’s their best electronics expert? Who helped build these earmuffs? “ As he pulled the headset from around his neck and handed it to Perelli, the Ranger shook his head. “ We worked with a Wes Brinson, sir. But I can’t guarantee he’s ever seen anything like this. “ “ I’d be surprised if he had. “ Mather smiled.”

Castro, Janice, 1986. “Many of those motorists are bound to indulge in a familiar American pastime: avoiding speed traps. Indeed, U.S. drivers in ever increasing numbers are turning for help in that unsporting effort to one of the hottest of automobile accessories, the miniature radar detector. # Once an obscure gadget found mostly on the dashboards of high-performance cars or in the cabs of long-haul trucks, the portable radar detector is fast becoming standard operating equipment in workaday Chevys, Fords and Toyotas.”

Wolfe, Tom, 1987. “Absentmindedly he pressed a button on the desktop. The tambour or of a faux-Sheraton cabinet rolled back, revealing the screen of a television set. Another of his dear weeping decorator’s touches. He opened the desk drawer and took out the remote-control gadget and ticked the set to life. The news. The Mayor of New York. A stage. Angry crowd of black people. Harlem. A lot of thrashing about. A riot. The Mayor takes cover. Shouts… chaos… a real rhubarb. Absolutely pointless. To Sherman it had no more meaning than a gust of wind. He couldn’t concentrate on it. He clicked it off.”

Clancy, Tom, 1988. “Your file says that you are very clever with electronic gadgets, Gennady losifovich. “ Filitov waved at the file folder on his desk. “ That is my job, Comrade Colonel. “ Bondarenko was more than just “clever,” and both knew it. He had helped develop laser rangefinders for battlefield use, and until recently had been engaged in a project to use lasers in place of radios for secure front-line communications.”

Megan, Terry, 1988. “RICK I called from my plane last week. ZIP Could you hear? RICK Clear as a bell… BRUCE Clearer than calling from the ground. RICK You called too? BRUCE I love gadgets. ZIP They run off of satellites? BRUCE Ground stations. RICK Like cellular phones. ZIP Like in the car? RICK Exactly. ZIP What’s the cost? BRUCE Seven dollars for the first three minutes. TORY Reasonable. RICK There’s absolutely no interference”

Douglas, Carole Nelson, 1988. “” Of course you are. You know your self-hatred manifests itself in your drive to succeed in your career. And the more successful you are, the more you loathe yourself. And then you gorge – secretly, in your chic, narrow esophagus of an alley kitchen with all those stainless steel gadgets. “ Such things you gorge on, dear Monica, so tacky. Fish and chips, ice cream by the half gallon – and not even ice cream from some SoHo specialty shop, but common supermarket lard. You make quite a pig of yourself, Monica, in that high-rent apartment of yours. And then you come to me. For absolution. “”

, 1988. “An infinitesimal mechanical advantage can make the difference between a winning and a losing sled, and the snoops at Winterberg were hoping to catch a glimpse or a hint or a suggestion of a gadget or an idea that an opposing team may have come up with since last season. It was a tense, watchful scene, worthy of a good suspense-filled cold war espionage movie. . . . Such was the superiority of the two supersled powers, that of the 18 medals awarded in the last three Olympics, 10 went to East Germany (including five of six golds) and five went to Switzerland. Two medals were won by West Germany and one by the U.S.S.R. // The international federation tried hard to halt this expensive technological race. But when it introduced new restrictions, Spezialtechnik would just come up with new gadgets that weren’t outlawed, and the Swiss, working alone in their garages, kept souping up their machines in a similar manner.”

, 1988. “The tapes that prompted Richard Nixon’s Watergate resignation in 1974 might never have existed had he not been such a klutz with gadgets. Nixon was reluctant to have his conversations recorded, writes former Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman in Prologue, a National Archives publication. But if there had to be a taping system, the President said, he wanted something simple – like Lyndon Johnson’s manually operated setup. # Haldeman was worried that his chief would forget to turn the gizmo on when he wanted it, or – worse – to turn it off when he didn’t. Haldeman also fretted “ that this President was far too inept”

Sibler, Terry, 1988. “We are still not fully unpacked from the move. Boxes of dishes, assorted kitchen gadgets, and books are stored in the attic. Eventually they will make their way to a thrift-store hopper, or be given away for a rummage sale.”

Free, John, 1988. “Most 3-D TV systems rely on simple binocular vision to create depth: When your eyes and brain see objects from slightly different perspectives, a sense of depth, called stereopsis, results. The first gadget to exploit stereopsis, the mirror stereoscope, was invented in 1833 by Sir Charles Wheatstone. He created pairs of drawings, each slightly different from the other to simulate left- and right-eye views, to form a 3-D image when viewed through mirrors.”

Tannenbaum, Jeffrey A., 1988. “This new gadget facilitates computer use in the home. It’ s Spectrum AC (for alternating current), a new type of modem that allows data to be transmitted at high speed over the standard electrical wiring in homes. Computers and accessories wouldn’ t need to have special cables connecting them, making it easier to move them between rooms without clumsy rewiring. NEC Corp. of Japan says the product will be available in the U.S. later this year, probably retailing below $300. Since at least two modems are needed. . .”

Taylor, Stuart Jr., 1988. “He added that the ruling would apparently bar compensation for injuries caused by “ any made-to-order gadget that the Federal Government might purchase after previewing plans - from NASA’ s Challenger space shuttle to the Postal Service’ s old mail cars. “ Among those who, hypothetically, would be denied compensation by the decision, Justice Brennan said, were “ the children who might have died had respondent’ s helicopter crashed on the beach. “”

Coonts, Stephen, 1989. “That double-agent discussion yesterday had frightened Camacho, coming as it did from a man who owned an assassin’s pistol and had enough gadgets in his attic to blow up half the cops in Washington. To assess just how likely it was that good of Harlan Albright had decided to eliminate a possible threat, one would need to know just what it was that was being threatened.”

Spector, Donna, 1989. “CARLOS FAVA (He can’t resist opening box.) Hey! What’s this? JOSE The best fucking knife you ever saw. CARLOS FAVA I ain’t a goddamn Boy Scout. JOSE Open it up. It’s got everything: can opener, scissors CARLOS FAVA (Opens knife, can’t help admiring all the gadgets.) Not bad. JOSE And y’know what? I got my own place now.”

Hurt, Harry III, 1989. “The list of “ indirect “ spinoffs from Project Apollo features one of the most revolutionary gadgets of modern times: the home computer. Back in the late 1950s, the state-of-the-art computer was the size of a city block. The space program encouraged an extraordinary process of miniaturization that down-sized master computers. As it happened, the Eagle’s 17-pound model was not equal to its task. But its development helped spark the personal-computer revolution.”

Larson, Erik, 1989. “I get a lot of junk mail. Like most of my friends, I throw most of the letters away unopened. I do save the catalogues, however; I pass them to my wife, who no doubt is one of the mainstays of the $21 billion junk-mail. industry? “ direct mail, “ as its practitioners prefer. My wife brings catalogues to bed with her at night. She is also a doctor, and people with causes to advance and gadgets to sell like doctors. For every piece of mail I get, she gets ten.”

Petersen, Clarence, 1989. ““When us older guys got into ham radio, we didn’t have that much to distract us,” says Texas radio amateur Jerry Stover, 69. “Now they’ve got television, computers, video-all sorts of electronic gadgets. And lifestyles have changed.” “The trouble is nobody really knows about ham radio,” says Steve Bosnyak III (KA9ZZA), 15, a Taft High School student.”

Coonts, Stephen, 1989. “Rubber padding held on with rubber bands covered the camera body. A wire led to it. He stood on the stairs and examined it with his flashlight, then reached up and removed the camera, excess wire following along. The wire was connected to a gadget on top with a small alligator clip. With the stairwell light off, he unclipped it and carried the camera to the kitchen table. Unwrapping the rubber padding with gloves on was difficult, so he took them off. The gadget on top was some kind of an electromagnetic doohickey with a lever. When the current was turned on by flippingthe light switch, the magnet was energized and caused this steel pin to push the camera shutter button, tripping the shutter. When the current ceased, a spring reset the lever, which released the shutter button and allowed the film to be automatically advancedby the camera.”

Tan, Amy, 1989. “Jesse set off happily every morning for his computer job, and returned every evening with some newp248baby-care gadget – a pack of bunny-shaped diaper pins or an ingenious spouted training cup. He was reading up on childbirth and kept embracing different theories, each more peculiar than the last. (For instance, at one point he proposed that the delivery take place underwater, but he couldn’t find a doctor who would agree to it.)”