Dulltown, UK: Today’s heraldic term is ‘paper heraldry’ – a derogatory term for accessories, such as crests, designed after heraldry ceased to have a practical function, which could not have been used for their original purpose.
Someone once remarked that my crest was ‘paper heraldry’, I almost punched him on the nose, even though he was a duke!…
It’s quite a slim, unassuming, and rather scruffy book is the 1954 Gadgets Annual. Just a dirty red and cream cover; perhaps it once might have had a glossy and colourful dust jacket on it, but if so it has now long gone. Still, here’s a picture of part of the title page to look at:
As you see, it is a compilation of ‘features’ from the Gadgets Magazine – I suppose it was a collection of the best bits from that year’s editions for people who had perhaps missed one, or for people who didn’t hang on to their magazines after reading and required a more permanent source of gadgetry to hand on their bookshelf.
This was a time when people bothered to learn practical and useful skills, skills for constructing handy gadgets – and repairing broken items around the home, instead of discarding them and buying new ones as we do now – it was a time when people were thrifty.
There are two or three interesting items per page – here are a few picked out at random to give you a feel for the content: Make Small Washers Out of Wire; Sealing Wax as an Adhesive; An Attractive Plastic Cigarette Trough; An Extension Tool for Reaching Awkward Places; A Useful Coil-Winding Hint, &c.
‘Oh, hello Madge dear. You are back early, did you manage to get some tripe for the weekend?’
‘Albert, what’s that awful smell?’
‘Awful smell dear?’
‘Yes, is something on fire?’
‘No dear, I don’t think so… Oh!…’
‘Turn the gas off!’
‘It’s alright, everything is under control… You see the magazine said to use a suitable tin, and…’
‘Is that my best saucepan Albert?’
‘No dear, I mean, well, that’s only a bit of waxy, er stuff…’
‘Er, shoe polish…’
‘Er, yes, with a bit of oxblood brown in it, you see, it’s always a waste of the last few bits rattling around in the tin…’
‘Is this that silly magazine of yours? You said that you’d stop getting it.’
‘It’s not silly… Anyway Madge, look it’s still molten – I’ll pour it back into its original tin, you see, if you try to get it into a new tin of polish, there’s not enough room for it, and…’
‘And how do you propose getting the black shoe polish stains out of my best pan?’
‘I have a stout wire brush in the shed, I’ll go and get it and…’