Dulltown, UK/Europe: Today’s novel china teapot is the one shaped like a gust of wind blowing some autumn leaves around a lawn. It does keep the tea nice and warm, but it is not, as one might suspect, a very good pourer.
Now then, what’s this grubby cream coloured spine hiding between the dark spines of the Manga ‘Death Note‘ books on my bookshelf? Ah, I wondered where that had got to! It’s my old cheap junk shop book The 1954 Gadgets Annual!
Here’s a picture of the title page, the book cover itself is surprisingly uninteresting.
Ah, good old W. N. Shaw! What a grand job he did. I hope he eventually got a knighthood!
As you see dear reader, this is a collection of the best articles from the Gadgets Magazine. The 1950s, when people repaired broken and worn out items rather than throwing them out and replacing them with new ones with built-in obsolescence as we do today – and they designed and made gadgets that would be useful around the home and in their little garden shed workshops. Let’s have a quick thumb through these smelly pages and pick a few titles at random: Toothpaste Removes ‘Rings’ on Furniture, A Potato Scraping Gadget, Novel Plastic Chains For Christmas, A Simple Racquet Press, A Plastic Desk Companion, Drawing Pins as Pot Menders, etc. And how about this from page 10?
‘Could you just rest you hand on this for a moment?’
‘I beg your pardon!… Oh? That piece of wood?…’
‘Yes, dear that’s it, I just need to get a small screw into this little floppy hinge.’
‘Is this something from that silly magazine of yours?’
‘Madge! It’s not a silly magazine, it’s very interesting and it has useful…’
‘What’s this thing suppose to… Ouch!…’
‘Sorry dear, was that you finger?’
‘Of course it was!… What is the idea of this, this device, then?’
‘Hands-free electricity on an awkward job! Foot operated! You see, what you can do is…’
‘Yes, yes… Look, that screw is in crooked Albert.’
‘Oh yes, so it is. Thank you dear.’
‘You are welcome… Where does the battery go then?’
‘The battery dear?’
‘Oh, it’s not battery operated, it plugs in…’
‘Into the mains?’
‘No?… Look, see, it says in the magazine that…’
‘No!… I see that in the magazine it says “suitable electric contacts”…’
‘Well, I thought a couple of brass drawing pins might…’
‘Sparks and danger Albert! Are you really thinking of actually putting your foot on that, that, lethal thing?’
‘Well dear, I’m sure the clever writers of this article, would have, thought of…’
‘No, definitely not Albert… If you continue with this, I’m… I’m off to Mother’s…’
‘Ah… Oh… Right…’