The Gadgets Page

January 19, 2009

1948 GE Revolving Shelf Refrigerator

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

In 1948, General Electric came out with this refrigerator/freezer with revolving shelves. You can see the full advertisement here:

Click to embiggen

1948 GE Revolving Shelf RefrigeratorI am continually surprised at products that DON’T survive. This fridge seems like the PERFECT solution to that bowl of moldy leftovers that got shoved into the back. Why don’t all of our refrigerators have revolving shelves?! The revolving shelf seems like the killer app for the refrigerator world. Why didn’t this feature survive?

Also notice that not one of those bowls of food have plastic wrap or lids on them. Is that just for aesthetics or did no one cover their food in the fridge back in the Forties? Nice to know that potato salad with boiled eggs looked EXACTLY the same as it does now.

1948 GE Revolving Shelf RefrigeratorAnother difference between this fridge and the current ones is the size of the freezer. It’s TINY! The frozen TV dinner was invented in 1945, but it didn’t really catch on and become a fad until the mid-Fifties, so maybe they didn’t need big freezers back then. Or maybe everyone had a separate huge freezer appliance and this one was just for more immediate frozen food needs.

In the end, this refrigerator would fail miserably in present day with no can dispensers for sodas and a freezer that can’t hold even one frozen pizza. Still, I’d love to see a present day refrigerator include revolving shelves. It’s a feature that should have thrived.

Via: Found in Mom’s Basement: 1948 ad for General Electric refrigerators

November 5, 2008

Zibra Open It!

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets — Christy Strebe @ 5:00 am

Zibra Open It at Amazon.comWe have all purchased items in hard-to-open vacuum-formed plastic packaging and after trying to cut it with scissors, we try to tear it and then get a giant cut from just trying to grab the item out – we swear to never buy anything packaged like that again, but then we end up buying something packaged that way again because it’s all sold that way.

The tool everyone need is the Open It!. It easily cuts through the plastic and even has a blade knife for opening boxes. If for some reason you also need a screw driver, it has that too. The blades are on a spring-loaded scissor mechanism similar to garden shears (except much shorter) and sharp enough to cut through layers of plastic and cardstock easily. I even used it to cut through the hard plastic bars of my CanSolidator, and anytime I want a straight cut through something thick or difficultly placed this is my tool of choice.

Here’s a photo of how you can use it to open packaging:

Zibra Open It at

Use it to snip open a plastic tie:

Zibra Open It at

The box cutter can zip open a CD or DVD wrapper:

Zibra Open It at

It’s difficult to find one tool that can do so many things, but Open It! has been my favorite.

March 31, 2008

The George Foreman Grill: A Product of the Microwave Generation

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

George Foreman GRP4 Next Grilleration 4-Burger Grill with Removable Plates, White at Amazon.comI’ve been thinking about the George Foreman Grill a lot lately. Why did it become so popular? It seemed like everyone I knew became an advocate for the thing a few years ago. It was like they suddenly discovered that they could cook food. Couldn’t we always grill food on our stove before? Yes we could. So why did we forget it? One word:


Back in the seventies and eighties, we became obsessed with the microwave. It was SO easy and quick to heat up food. We tried to cook EVERYTHING in the microwave. We even were willing to bake cakes in the microwave, as shown in this commercial from Pillsbury:

As silly as it sounds, those microwave cakes tasted alright. I remember another commercial when I was a child in which a woman was demonstrating a microwave and a curmudgeon in the back of the audience kept asking, “But does it brown?” None of our microwaves browned food (except the miracle microwave in that commercial), but browning is something we gladly gave up for the convenience of speed.

After ten or fifteen years of eating soggy microwaved food, grilled food sounded pretty good. Food that was grilled on both sides at the same time was innovative and made the grilling time quicker. That, coupled with the infomercial world that we found ourselves in was a phenomenon.

Do I like my George Foreman Grill? Yes, I own the red one pictured here.

George Foreman GRP90WGR Next Grilleration Removable-Plate Grill with 5 Plates, Red at

I’ve never used the other three plates that have come with it, but I keep thinking that I’ll make some waffles with it someday. Huge waffles for an army of angry football players who are REALLY hungry. Until then, I’ll just keep grilling my pork chops, hamburgers and steaks. It’s an awkward and bulky appliance sitting on my precious counter space when I could just as easily grill on my stove with a pan, but I still love the thing.

What can I say? I’m a child of the microwave generation.

January 3, 2008

As Seen on TV: My First Love of Gadgets

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets,Retro Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 12:00 pm

I found this blog entry about misleading advertisements and it made me feel nostalgic.

I think my first love of gadgets came from watching television commercials like these. For example, the commercials for Miracle Blade have been on since I was a teenager. I love to watch how they cut on television.

I LOVE it when he starts hacking away at the table with the knife, cuts into a solid rock, the aluminum can, and even the sledge hammer. He then immediately goes back to cutting the tomato in thin, beautiful slices. Some of the best salesmanship is on infomercials. They really show their product very quickly and efficiently.

Just like this commercial, they used to cut through aluminum cans with the knives on the commercials they showed when I was a kid. The sight of cutting something that I would NEVER try cutting with a knife burned itself so much into my mind that I can still see it today.

It’s not like these knives are any better than the Henckels knives in my kitchen. They are just demonstrated in such a way that makes them look smooth and amazing.

I truly think that my love of gadgets came from the likes of Ron Popeil and other infomercial greats.

Via: AdFreak: Cracked’s 10 most laughably misleading ads

July 13, 2007

The BlendTec Blender Has No Problem Blending The iPhone

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

If you are looking for a new blender, look no further than BlendTec. Their blenders have blended everything from unopened cans of Spam to marbles, so the ice for your smoothie won’t be a problem. Every geek on the Internet screamed in agony when they tested their blenders this time. I can assure you, the BlendTec blender has no problem blending the iPhone.

Ironically, you can buy this blended iPhone, a brand new BlendTec blender, a DVD of the first 50 episodes of Will It Blend? and a t-shirt on eBay:

Last time I checked, the bidding was up to $570.

Blendtec TTBB-23259 Total Blender at Amazon.comThe BlendTec Total Blender is a pricey kitchen appliance at $400, competing with the finest that MixMaster has to offer. Of course, when was the last time you saw a MixMaster blend golf balls into pulverized dust? I’ve found that my cheap blender has no trouble blending up smoothies and when it comes to fancy electronics, eBay disposes of them nicely for me.

The absolute best Will It Blend? was the 12 Glow Sticks they did a while back. Here it is for your enjoyment:

Via: Will it Blend: the iPhone smoothie – Engadget

May 23, 2007

How To Chill A Can of Diet Coke In 2 Minutes

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I saw the title to Real Live Preacher’s weblog entry and I immediately thought, “Yeah, and how to clean frozen Diet Coke out of your freezer when you forget about it…”

If that was your first thought as well, you need to click on over to RLP’s site:

I have been doing the same things over and over that it never occurred to me that I could do something different. Here’s to RLP for reminding us that there are different ways to do things.

March 3, 2006

Adjustable Measuring Spoons

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 1:38 am

Good Cook Adjustable Measuring SpoonsWhen I bought these Good Cook measuring spoons several years ago, I thought they were a blessing. Instead of searching for the exact right measuring spoon, this one was always the right one because it was adjustable. It didn’t take me long to realize that this meant I had to wash the stupid thing several times while creating one recipe because I would need it for more than one ingredient.

I worried that these adjustable spoons wouldn’t work with liquid measurements like vanilla extract, but they work like a dream. I thought the vanilla would seep under the sliding adjuster and make the measurement off, but I haven’t had that trouble because I hold the spoon on the adjuster and put a little pressure on it to make sure liquid doesn’t get under it. I’ve never had a problem.

Pro Adjustable Teaspoon & Tablespoon Set with Chrome FinishIt looks like adjustable measuring spoons are getting so popular now that they come in fancy chrome designs like these Pro Adjustable Measuring Spoons. I don’t really feel the need to display my cooking utensils, so these wouldn’t really work for me any better than the less expensive ones from Good Cook, but they sure are pretty. I cringe when I think about trying to clean peanut butter out of them, though. For some things, the old measuring spoons are better.

February 16, 2006

Tesselated Electric Cooktops

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:07 am

Kuppersbusch has a new design for built in stovetops. Instead of the usual round units that come two to a built in unit, they have honeycomb shaped units.

Kuppersbusch Honeycomb Stovetops

You have your choice of 3-6 units and they can be tesselated in a multitude of ways. The red unit is the control.

Use Your Tesselation Skillz

Not all shapes can be tesselated, but the honeycomb design is one that is featured in nature quite heavily because it’s the most efficient of the shapes that can be tesselated. When a bee makes a honeycomb, it uses less wax making the six-sided shape than it would a triangle or a square. An octagon uses less wax, but you can’t tesselate an octagon (it leaves a hole between the shapes). That’s your math lesson for the day.

As cool as this stove is, I am completely unwilling to pay approximately $5000 for the six unit version. I’ll stick with my cheap $200 stove because I don’t cook often enough to make something like this feasible.

Looks cool, though…

For More Information:

January 24, 2006

CES: NextGen Home – Zones 1-8

Filed under: Audio and Video,Kitchen Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:13 am

NextGen Home: Zones 1-8

This section of The NextGen Home Experience featured products from several companies: Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition, Hewlett Packard Computers, Life|Touch Screens, TMIO Intelligent Ovens, Brizo Pascal Faucets, GE Appliances, ZON Audio Controllers, Vantage Lighting and Microtherm SEISCO Tankless Water Heater.

They packed so many computers and gadgets into this small manufactured home, that it was really overkill, but it was still fun to see all that could be done:

Zones 1 & 2 – The Entry and Dining Room

Life|Touch ScreenOut on the porch, there was a network camera, so from the Life|Touch Screen, we could check to see who was at the door. The $15 spyhole has been replaced with $8000 of machinery. Of course, you can also check who’s at the door from the bedroom, so that’s what’s so cool about that. You can also open and close the blinds and curtains, choose music from your MP3 collection, show television shows that your system has recorded for you, and adjust the temperature of the house. The Life|Touch Screens aren’t just little LCD screens on your wall that connect to a Windows Media Center PC, they are a Windows Media Center PC themselves.

HP Plasma HDTV and Penguins

In the dining room, they had an HP Plasma HDTV on the wall that displayed art. Of course, it could replay television shows, play movies or music from your collection. As you can see, of all the art they showed us, Mike preferred the penguins.

Zones 3-6 – Kitchen

The Kitchen Computer (because it's not a kitchen without a computer, right?)

We had already seen a computer in the entry and a computer in the dining room. They opened the kitchen cupboard to reveal yet another HP computer. I would have put the phone book in that cabinet and walked the extra couple of feet to the home office, but that’s just me.

Brizo FaucetsThere were touchless faucets that turned on automatically. We happened to be touring with a man who kept asking, “What happens if the power goes out?” about EVERY product that was being demonstrated. He lived in an area that experienced brownouts and blackouts on a regular basis, so all of this “House of the Future… er… Today” stuff seemed unwise to him. The people manning the house were from Intel, so they couldn’t tell us what would happen if the power went out and you wanted to turn on the water. They couldn’t even tell us if the water would start running if the power went out.

Life|Touch Screen Grimy with Fingerprints

There was another Life|Touch Screen in the kitchen. It was grimy with fingerprints and I had the vision of what it would look like in a house with three kids. After only a day of children accessing their favorite songs and looking to see who’s at the door, even if no one rang the doorbell, I could imagine a far messier touch screen. It made me unwilling to put one in my house.

TMIO Intelligent Oven

By far, the coolest thing in the kitchen was the TMIO Intelligent Oven. You can put dinner in the oven before you go to work. It will refrigerate the dinner until it’s time to cook it, then turn on the oven and cook your meal.

The guy in our group asked his question, “What happens if the power goes out?” Without missing a beat, the gentleman showing the oven said that if it’s a short amount of time, the oven goes back to its routine of either refrigerating or cooking. If the power goes out for a long time, it will fail-safe to refrigeration. The cool thing is that if you’re at work and the oven had fail-safed to refrigeration, you could reset it from their website or call their system on the telephone and reset it to cook correctly.

It doesn’t need Windows Media Center to run, it has its own system and just needs to connect to the Internet with a cable or wireless connection. Hands down, it was the coolest thing I saw in the NextGen house.

Zones 7 & 8 – The Utility Room

SEISCO Tankless Water HeaterThere was no one in this area to tell us what to look at. There was a washer and dryer there from GE and some other equipment. The only thing we noticed that we thought was cool was the SEISCO Microtherm Tankless Water Heater.

We had seen one of these at the cabin in Island Park, Idaho. Instead of a water heater that heated a tank of water that could run out with six of us showering, the cabin had a tankless water heater like this one that heated the water as it ran through it. I have no idea how it works, but it worked like a dream in that cabin. I kind of wish there had been a guide in the utility room that could have explained that technology to us. As far as I know, it’s magic.

Zones 1-8 Wrapup

With so many questions from us and the people in our group, it was understandable why the wait for the tour was two hours long. It took us a full hour and a half to get through the house. In Zones 1-8, the coolest thing was the TMIO Oven. There were so many things that the demonstrator showed us, we were really impressed. The truth of the matter is, we rarely use our oven for cooking dinner and the TMIO seemed like a really impressive crockpot to me. I didn’t see anything in zones 1-8 that I would install in my house. Sadly, I might not even use them if I moved into a house with all those gadgets, except the water heater. I love the idea of being able to shower as long as I want.

December 21, 2005

Other Uses For My Stovetop Grill

Filed under: Kitchen Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

View grill details at AmazonWe bought The Lodge Pro Grill over a year ago. It’s a cast iron grill that fits nicely over two burners on your stove. More importantly, it stores in the same space as a cookie sheet. The smooth side is great for making pancakes and eggs. If you flip it over, there is a ridge grill side that is great for grilling meat. Just like to George Foreman grill, the fat drips down and stays away from the meat.

Who knew it would be good to cool cookies?This holiday, we found a new use for it. Since we keep it on our stove at all times, we noticed that it would be ideal for cooling cookies. We’ve never had a cooling rack for cookies and we have always thought that we really “should” have a cooling rack instead of putting the cookies on paper towels on the countertop. The ridged edge of the grill works perfectly with cookies and they cooled nicely. I love it when I find a new use for a gadget I already own!

Additionally, Mike and I take this grill with us when we go camping. It fits right over the two propane burners of our camping stove and is a huge space for cooking those early morning pancakes when you can still see your breath in the air. The surface heats pretty evenly. It’s warmer where the burners (either electric or propane) are touching it, but the difference between the warm areas and cooler areas aren’t enough to cause any problems cooking. We’ve never tried using it over an open fire, so I can’t recommend using it for that.

This has been a great grill and I’m so glad that we have found yet another use for it.

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