Gadgets, Gadget, Who’s Got a Gadget?

Gadgets I’ve Wanted… and Gadgets I’ve had

By Jeff Salter

Our Wednesday Fox wanted to know about our favorite gadgets. Hmm. As usual, my answer will be in multiple parts.

Let’s Define Terms

As did Patricia (our Monday Fox), I started out seeking a definition of our topic. She consulted the dictionary. I checked Google. What I found out is that the accepted concept of “gadget” these days refers to all the whiz-bang electronic devices and what I’ve come to think of as typical household appliances. But, let’s face it, folks — gadgets (I mean REAL gadgets) are just gizmos, doodads, and whatchamacallits. Or, as Patricia noted, thingamabobs.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

As usual, I need to add a disclaimer here. I love – and often use – things like microwaves, calculators, and (formerly) VCRs [now DVDs]. And, of course, my desktop computer. But despite prevailing wisdom of Wiki and Google, those aren’t gadgets — they’re conveniences, which quickly became essentials… and are now part of our very lifeblood. Whereas gizmos and doodads are objects which have captured our interest and imagination! [Even if they’re not actually essential to our daily existence.]


This is the Veg-o-Matic II, the improved version. The earlier one was marketed by K-Tel.

A Gadget I Wanted (But Never Had)

Remember those hokey TV ads in about 1964 for the K-Tel Veg-O-Matic? It slices, it dices, etc. As I sit here tying this blog, I still don’t understand why I was so attracted to the Veg-o-Matic. I mean, I did little to no cooking back then… and not much more even now. I certainly don’t NEED a device that chops up veggies. Truth be told, I don’t actually care for most veggies, to begin with. So why was I drawn to those hokey ads? I think it’s because they made meal preparation seem like FUN. Had I comprehended (then) more about actual meal preparation, I doubt I would have been so captivated by that flimsy little gadget of plastic and some strips of wire or bedded aluminum blades. But I was. I no longer recall how much they originally cost, but if it was more than ten cents, my parents wouldn’t have bought one. Back then we were a one-income household and my dad’s annual salary (as a hospital protestant chaplain) was around $5000 … within a few dollars of what the starting underpaid school teachers made at that time.

In one sense, I guess this is the whole enchilada of the TV advertising business: show us something we had never thought of, that we don’t really need, and (through repetition and context) make it look so inventive or indispensable that we’ll bust a gut to acquire one. And price it at $19.99 plus shipping and handling.

Garage Gadgets

The one type of gadget that I have been able to acquire over the years falls under the general heading of nifty hand tools and/or attachments for same. No room (or time) here to list them all, but one of my favorites is a stud-finder. You slip these magnetic discs into a plastic holder and lightly pass the felt-backed holder over the area of the wall that you’re interested in. Lo and behold, the magnet discs seize hold of a nail head (through the half-inch wallboard!) and that disc remains there while you hunt for its neighbors… 16 inches on either side. Now you and I both know that there’s a hundred ways of locating the studs in the wall. But none are as much FUN as this one. It will definitely be my nominee for Garage Gadget of the Year.


What about YOU? Have you got a favorite gadget?

[JLS # 405] — corrected

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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9 Responses to Gadgets, Gadget, Who’s Got a Gadget?

  1. jbrayweber says:

    This is a tough one, Jeff. Like you said, most gadgets are now really just conveniences or essential components to everyday life. SOme gadgets are definitely overrated and don’t work as well as you might think—battery-operated scissors comes to mind. Honestly, I can’t think of a favorite gadget. It might just be too early in the morning. I scrapbook sometimes. My guided paper cutter is handy. Hand-held blenders are, too. But that’s all I can come up with. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      battery-operated scissors, Jenn? Surely you jest.
      Those various blenders, mixers, etc. are gadgets in one sense… but I tend to them of them as I do toasters and microwaves — absolutely essential !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I could have gone on and on about gadgets…I love them. I really had to limit myself to what I cannot live without anymore. I guess limited funds has been a blessing in some ways because I’d fall for nearly every ad out there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    My husband has one of those stud finders. He says it comes in handy. As for me, I’ve never been too much of a gadget person.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I remember the Veg-o-matic! We never had one, though. We never owned a stud finder either – we just put things up and hope they stay. I DID have a pair of battery operated scissors – they come in handy when you do a lot of sewing. I’ve done so much cutting when doing holiday sewing that I got sores on my right hand. With the electric ones you just guide them along and the fabric is cut.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Gadgets, Gadget, Who’s Got a Gadget? — Four Foxes, One Hound – Innovation through Technology

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