This will be a most attractive gift item…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s silly sounding word is ‘oblong’.

What’s that fusty smell? Where is it coming from?…
Oh, it must be that old junk shop book, The 1954 Gadgets Annual, lying there on the table. Oh, hang on, it doesn’t seem to be the book itself that smells, it’s one or two of the ideas in it…
No no, just my little joke dear reader, the book is actually a fascinating glimpse into the world of Britain back in the 1950s, a time when money was short and people had to make-do and mend just as they did only a few years earlier in the dark days of WWII.

DSCN3900This is of course the title page, the book itself is far too drab looking to warrant a picture. There are three or four items on each page, about half of them are accompanied by a nice little drawing which shows the gadget and sometimes illustrates how it can be made.
Let’s quickly flick through these yellowing well-thumbed pages and sample some items which might attract the attention of the 1950s handyman or handy-lady:
A Non-Mechanical Agitator, A Neat Teapot Lid Locking Device, A Celery-Stick Cleaner, A Comfortable Pen Holder, How To Clean Corroded Terminals, A Magnetic Shaver’s Shelf, etc…


‘Yes dear?’
‘Have you seen my copy of Gadgets Magazine? I’m sure I heard it come through the letterbox this morning.’
‘Yes, Albert I have it here.’
‘Oh? What are you doing with it?’
‘I was just glancing through it.’
‘Oh? I didn’t think such technical things would be of much interest to you my dear.’
‘I was curious as to why you find it so enthralling, you really do look forward to receiving it – it always seems to cheer you up.’
‘Well, yes, I suppose so…’
‘What about a toothpick holder Albert?’
‘Look here, see, it says that they can be most attractive gift items!’
‘Oh, yes… right… perspex, polished wood, metal polish, glue… I think I do have a few old bits of perspex in the shed… It looks like it might be a bit tricky though, perspex can be rather…’
‘Yes, dear?’
‘This thing… in this silly magazine…’
‘It is one of the ugliest, and most useless things, I have ever seen in my life!’
‘Oh Madge, you are such a minx!… Ho ho ho!… You were deliberately drawing me in! No, it’s not very nice is it? And, do you know, that working perspex can be surprisingly difficult, you have to have the correct type of…’
‘Yes dear?’
‘How about making us a neat teapot lid locking device?’
‘Oh! Stop it!… Come here and give me a cuddle… but Madge, be careful, mind you don’t crease my magazine…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in archeology, books, conversation, design, history, humour, information, instruction, joke, Uncategorized, words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to This will be a most attractive gift item…

  1. Now I could really do with a teapot lid locking device, seriously. You posted about those odd saucers at the coffee shop the other day? – well I need a dinner plate under MY cup! 😀

    • Dave Whatt says:

      So, is your cup unusually large, or are you rather sloppy in the procedure of cup setting down?
      By the way, I bought a Scottish ‘plain white’ loaf yesterday – very nice and tasty!

      • My teapot has quite an independent streak, I’m afraid. It doesn’t think pouring in a straight line counts for much these days. Teapots like to be wild and free in their pouring duties. And yes, a plain loaf has a lot of flavour – its also quite filling. Before we got all glutenised, we loved the crusty end bits toasted with lots of butter. Ahh those were the days. 🙂

      • Dave Whatt says:

        I’ll bet that teapot is a modern design – they now throw out all the well tested practicality in favour of trendy looks and them being economic to make – bah!…
        Scottish white: Hm, I must buy some butter…

      • Nope, not a trendy teapot. Just a little squat cantankerous beast that can’t do one simple job! *sigh* never mind. maybe I should just try dipping a teabag in a mug of hot water, much less stressful!

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