News-Antique.com - Sep 02,2007 - No other segment of housewares is regarded as more characteristically American than the never ending parade of products we label as gadgets. Our American heritage is rich with examples of devices created by Yankee ingenuity. this was especially true of New
England, where during the last half of the 19th century metal working and mechanical development made remarkable progress on the crest of the Industrial revolution.
In 1869 D. H. Goodell established a company bearing his name in Antrim, New Hampshire. His first product was a hand operated apple peeler. Of course these items
weren’t called gadgets at first but were commonly referred to as notions. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that the term gadget was first used for merchandise that made homemaking and cooking chores easier. Some other examples of early gadgets were a pin pick feather
picker to remove stubs of feathers from poultry; a poppy seed grinder; a knife cleaner which consisted of a can filled with sand and having a slotted lid through which to slide the knives; a match striking board; an egg topper to remove the tops of hard boiled eggs; a vegetable quirler for making Sarah Bernhardt potatoes; and a beer shaver of hard black rubber for scraping the foam off a mug of beer.
During the 1920s gadgets emerged not only as a trade name but as an important and thriving classification of housewares. Different marketing strategies were tried from individual printed cards to catalogues to pegboard displays in stores. The pegboard displays in stores such as Woolworth gave the gadget business a tremendous boost and it’s been growing ever since. With the introduction of television, live commercials
advertised gadgets that were pure entertainment (Ron Popeil was always one of my favorites). Now we have infomercials and Shopping networks that allow inventors to sell their latest gadget not only to America but the world.
In America, especially, it seems that the sales of gadgets really need no help. Americans, male as well as female, seem to have developed an inherent fascination and fondness for gadgets. Just the idea of something working in a different and easier way excites us.
We’ll buy it on just the chance that it will work. Now that could certainly mean we’re just lazy but I would rather think of us as forward thinking.
I must admit that I am one of many who have a genuine weakness for gadgets of all kinds. I love the ingenuity of these products even if we may only use them a few times a year. At Mama’s Treasures we stock lots of gadgets from the 1920s through the 1980s. How can
anyone live without a food glamorizer, rolling pin sleeve, or percomatic baster is beyond my comprehension? So if you’re like me and want to take a stroll through the gadgets of the past century and invoke a memory or two, stop by and visit me at Mama’s Treasures on Tias.com. I can’t promise to have everything you’re looking for, but