History of gadgets
The history of the devices goes back to humanity itself, since hominids began to create tools to make life easier for them. Humans have always created devices and appliances for specific practical purposes that were initially thought of as novelties, due to unfamiliarity with technology and initial unwillingness to accept it. Today, the industry has increased the creation of new devices, while certain retailers, including Brookstone’s RichardSolo.com and Richard Thalheimer, specialize in popularizing them.
What famous inventors Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Leonardo da Vinci had in common, among others, was foresight. They understood that a lifetime of playing with what others saw as mindless toys and gadgets would eventually result in essential technology. Only from that small group, the foundations for electricity, communications, cinema and flight were laid thanks to their devices, which obviously possessed more value than novelty.
Perhaps one of the first and best known devices created is the wheel, many millennia ago. Take a ride in your car and witness how truly revolutionary such a device has become and how much we now rely on it for transportation. A newer device, Apple’s iPhone, appears to be the beginning stage of another must-have device that will reshape communications.
“The iPhone may one day be seen as the device that started a second revolution in computing. Desktop computing was the first revolution. Handheld computing will one day be seen as the second revolution, and the iPhone is the product that beginning”.
-Richard Thalheimer, RichardSolo.com
Not all gadgets were created equal. In fact, most inventions are based on the newest technology. The world of gadgets is divided into levels; Devices fall into one of four categories: mechanical, electronic, programmable, and application. Mechanical gadgets include the wheel, as well as later developments like the pulley, bicycle, sailboat, thermometer, and gender. Following the advent of electricity, devices were taken to a new level as inventors began to discover different uses for newly harnessed energy. Television, radio, and quartz clock are examples of electronic devices. After electricity, inventors toyed with electronic information via microprocessors, ushering in an era of programmable devices like computers, and later MP3 players and the iPhone. Application gadgets include iTunes, Microsoft Office, and other computer applications that personalize our experience with programmable devices.
Richard Thalheimer, president and founder of online gadget provider RichardSolo.com, and founder and former CEO of gadget giant The Sharper Image, understands, perhaps better than anyone, that gadgets are much more than novelty.
“Certainly most people enjoy the novelty of a device that introduces a new convenience into their lifestyle. What they forget is that solving these everyday problems is not just entertainment, some of these devices become necessities. In my personal life, I trust my iPhone, my garage door opener, my nose clipper, my electric toothbrush, and other gadgets that were once considered novelty gadgets. ”
– Richard Thalheimer, RichardSolo.com
Both his previous creation and his current company sell wacky, useful and fun gadgets of all kinds, from mechanical to programmable to application. You’ve seen some devices, like the Ionic Breeze Air Purifier, stimulate long-lasting, sensational trends based on the realization of utility value, while others collect dust on shelves after their novelty runs out. Specialty stores like Richard Thalheimer’s The Sharper Image and RichardSolo.com have a greater purpose: to spread new ideas and to give credit to the Franklins and Edison of the world.
~ Ben Anton, 2008