A lever or control mechanism used to operate a tool or system.
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Quote: “…for on taking the wheel I found a machine under my hands such as I never even heard of before. The wheel was fixed upon the tiller in such a manner that the whole concern travelled backwards and forwards across the deck in the maddest kind of way. […] I fairly shook with apprehension lest the mate should come and look in the compass. I had been accustomed to hard words if I did not steer within half a point each way; but here was a ‘gadget’ that worked me to death, the result a wake like the letter S. Gradually I got the hang of the thing, becoming easier in my mind on my own account. Even that was not an unmixed blessing, for I had now some leisure to listen to the goings-on around the deck.”
Author: Bullen, Frank T.
Source: New York: D. Appleton and Company. 7-8
Quote: “The chief, with an eye to curbing the speeding proclivities of the automobile set, purchased a motorcycle that was guaranteed to run like the dickens. And it did, too, the first time the chief took the road. Accidentally pressing the wrong gadget or something, the thing bounded away like a stung deer.”
Source: Motorcycle Illustrated. June, 1908. p. 26.
Quote: “Wheels that lift and depress and swing the muzzle, and gadgets with figures on them, and other scales which play between the map and the gadgets, and atmospheric pressure and wind variation, all worked out with the same precision under a French hedge as on board a battleship where the gun-mounting is fast to massive ribs of steel–it seemed a matter of bookkeeping and trigonometry rather than war.”
Author: Palmer, Frederick
Source: New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.
Quote: “He makes change a dozen times, answers questions with a smile, hollers ‘Step up in the aisle;’ pulls a lever here and there regulating brakes and air. When he is prepared to go, shuts the bird-cage with his toe, moves a gadget with his knee–regulates the speed, you see–pulls the bell cord with his teeth, lest some folks get caught beneath. That would throw ‘er off the track; maybe flop ‘er on ‘er back. Calls out names of every street, punches transfers with his feet. Thus he earns his daily pay, running cars out Summit Way.”
Source: American Electric Railway Association. vol. 7. November, 1918.
Quote: “And even then I was forced to stretch one leg out so far that I kicked a little gadget on a box arrangement on the dashboard, which apparently stopped the engine.” [george blames it on him, says he did it on purpose.] “As if I, with no mechanical instinct whatever, knew what was in that box! I don’t know even now, and I have got my driver’s license.”
Author: Benchley, Robert
Source: New York: Henry Holt and Company. 1921. p. 54
Quote: “Somehow or other I can’t get on to this radio a little bit. When you get that sending outfit rigged you’ll have to go down and test it. I’d probably bungle something. I didn’t even dare meddle with this gadget for tuning. I tried it once and when your voice stopped I just shoved her back and let it go at that.”
Author: Verrill, A. Hyatt
Source: D. Appleton and Company: 1922
Quote: “A student we interviewed said that when he applied for enrollment he did very well with the bars, and was told to go out to the line of planes waiting for flights. It was all quite casual. He was given the name of an instructor and told to report to him. He had to hunt for this man, whom he finally found off at one side of the field eating a hot dog. This teacher of fledglings, with but the preliminary of a perfunctory handshake, began his work immediate-ly by pointing out a few of the main gadgets. After a little of this he told the novice to get in the plane, and off they went aloft. The student was in the air half an hour after his enrollment, not counting out the time he spent hunting up the instructor. The planes have dual controls; the student sits behind the pilot. Some instructors give advice and orders through tubes connected with earphones in the student’s helmet. Others use hand and arm signals.”
Author: Johnston, Alva
Source: New Yorker: 1928-09-15: p. 17-21
Quote: “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”
Author: Frisbie, Robert Dean
Source: The Atlantic Monthly: Aug 1930: p. 190
Quote: “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.’”
Author: Winton, Roy W.
Source: Movie Makers: May 1930
Quote: “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).”
Author: Galbraith, Robert Earle ed.
Source: New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons. 1933.
Quote: “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.”
Author: Galbraith, Robert Earle ed.
Source: New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons. 1933.
Quote: “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.”
Source: Scientific American 152, (April 1935) p. 219
Quote: “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.”
Source: Scientific American 154, (June 1936) p. 328-355
Quote: “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.”
Author: Leitfred, Robert H.
Source: Green Circle Books
Quote: “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.”
Author: Ingalls, Albert G.
Source: Scientific American 158, (April 1938). p. 248-251
Quote: “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.”
Source: Time Magazine: 1938/06/06
Quote: “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.”
Author: Deschlin, Jacob
Source: Scientific American 161, (October 1939). p. 238-243
Quote: “After all,’ says the concluding sentence in the foreword to an instruction booklet for one of the Filmo cameras, ‘we made the camera, so first try our way of using it.’ There’s a lot of common sense back of that, obvious though it may appear to be. Over-confidence and eagerness to get going with the new outfit frequently induces people of newly purchased cameras to use the camera before they have read the instructions. The consequence too often is that something jams because some little gadget was not properly adjusted, although reference to a single line in the instructions would have avoided the accident.”
Source: Scientific American 162, (May 1940). p. 286-310
Quote: “He must sit cramped and alone in the narrow confines of his gadget-filled quarters for hours at a time. He is often cold, having only the shelter of thin plastic or glass walls to protect him from the frigid temperatures of high altitudes. His often-tense body be comes numb from the bomber’s vibration; particularly so if his post is in a tail turret, but he must fight off torpidity as he would enemy planes.”
Author: Peck, James H.L.
Source: Scientific American 164, (January 1941). p. 12-14
Quote: “The Boy’s Book Of Model Rail Roading, by Raymond F. Yates. Harper and Brothers ($2.50). Instructions on the repair of model trains, the making of stations, switches, signals, scenery, bridges, viaducts, remote-control gadgets; how, in other words, to pursue the small-train hobby while pretending to be doing it for your children. Mr. Yates has also taken pains to lay out simple jobs the children can do so as not to disturb you.”
Source: Scientific American 185, (December 1951). p. 72-77
Quote: “A new type of television set that uses a flash beam from a small pistol-shpaed gadget with no connecting wires to turn the set on or off, to change channels, and to tune out or eliminate long commercials, has been developed by Zenith Radio Corporation.”
Source: The Plain Dealer (Kansas City, Kansas) • 07-15-1955 • Page 
Quote: “The best answer is a course in driver education at their high school, completed just before they become eligible for a license. Here they’ll learn “how to drive”–not just manipulate gadgets, levers and pedals. They’ll develop attitudes toward safety and an understanding of the right and privileges of other drivers.”
Author: Smith, Jeanae
Source: Plain Dealer (Kansas City, Kansas) • 10-12-1956 • Page 7
Quote: “Wiener is a fluent writer, but this is not much of a novel. It has some merit as social criticism, it describes ingeniously the technical stuff (control gadgetry) and the patent and corporate chicaneries one can get away with in our society, but the hero is a cold fish, a sort of Armenian trader whom one never gets either to like or to understand.”
Author: Newman, James R.
Source: Scientific American 203, (July 1960). p. 179-194
Quote: “” Yehudi is already at the door, “ she said, and made a face of exasperation. “ Someday I’m going to turn off the gadget that signals the orderly room the minute you get out of bed, so I can have you all to myself. “ “ It’s better if you get used to him, “ Cal cautioned. “ Turn off the signal and that turns on an alarm. Instead of one Yehudi, you’d have twenty rushing in to see what was wrong. “ “ Well, it seems to me a grown man ought to be able to take his morning shower without an observer standing by to see that…”
Author: Clifton, Mark
Source: [Short story] In: Garden City, New York
Quote: “If mitosis is not desperately discouraging as a problem of molecular biology, it is because the complex operations are embodied in a definite structural assembly––the mitotic apparatus––that can be regarded as a gadget for performing the operations. We can approach the physics and chemistry of mitosis through the study of the formation, structure and changes of the mitotic apparatus, without forgetting that mitosis is an operation of the whole cell.”
Author: Mazia, Daniel
Source: Scientific American 205, (September 1961). p. 100-121
Quote: “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 […]”
Author: Hahn, Emily
Source: New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company. 1971.
Quote: “[…]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[…]”
Author: Kerouc, Jack
Quote: “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.”
Author: Wolfe, Tom
Source: Farrar Straus Giroux
Quote: “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.”
Author: Coonts, Stephen