Gadgets Galore

A recent news item in the UK told of a lady who was selling her collection of teasmade machines, those wonderful gadgets you kept by the bed to wake you with the alarm and a fresh pot of tea. The woman has amassed over 170, most of which still work.teasmade

Popular in the 1960s and 1970s, we never owned one, the main reason being we don’t drink tea; the other being back in the mid 1970s, the house Dave and I lived in was without central heating. He had to be in work for 6:00 am so an early alarm was necessary. Rather than shiver my way downstairs to make him a drink before he left home, I would keep a kettle, mugs, coffee and a jug of milk (which sometimes froze over) by the bed, and simply leaned across to flick on the kettle when the alarm clock rang.  Thank goodness those days are gone.

The article chip slicerbought to mind other gadgets that were about way back then, many of which have fallen by the wayside or left shoved in the back of a cupboard somewhere. My mother worked full time and with a household of six, anything to make cooking easier and quicker was obviously worth investing in. One I remember well was the chip slicer. As a child I was never strong enough to work the heavy metal lever, but often had to wash-up the thing.

chop-o-matic1Another was the Chopamatic – supposedly to make chopping onions quicker and easier. Rarely did the contraption work, often becoming jammed in the onion on the first strike; and what a performance to clean afterwards. Yet, surprisingly, there are still modern versions of these about, not that I’ve bothered to buy one, managing well enough with a sharp knife.

caddy matic teaTwo gadgets were designed specifically to hang on the wall – the Caddy-matic, used to store and deliver the right about of tea leaves per person at the push of the button, awall scalesnd wall-mounted weighing scales. These were both useful and convenient, until one time too much was put on the scales and the weight pulled the screws out of the wall. It was like something out of a snowglobe as flour covered every surface in the kitchen. Oops!

breadslicerThen there was the bread slicer. Although ready-sliced bread, such as Wonderloaf and Sunblest, were familiar and great for making toast but bland and cloying used for sandwiches, we always had a crusty loaf that needed slicing. The bread slicer was used to also slice bacon, beef and even hard cheese. I had one for many years but it took up a lot of space, and I was always frightened my daughter would cut herself on it, so out it went, to be replaced with an electric carving knife which I still use to carve the Sunday joint.

There are no doubt many other gadgets we all had at one time. Which ones do you still have or even still use?

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10 responses to “Gadgets Galore

  1. I have a chopper. And thank goodness technology has come far enough that I rarely get onions stuck on the first chop. 🙂 And I love that chopper, especially when I make salsa. What I’m chuckling about the most is you indicating you didn’t drink tea. Is that still the case? I know it’s stereotyping, but I thought everyone in your neck of the woods drank tea. 🙂

    • My Dave doesn’t like tea, Laurie, I can’t honestly remember the last time he drank it, and I’m very much a coffee person since I was allowed my first cup at age about 8. I do drink the occasional cup of tea, perhaps mid afternoon, especially when out with the girls, but I don’t drink it very often. Whilst most here enjoy an a cuppa of a morning, I’m afraid it makes me heave first thing, so coffee it is. Glad the modern version chopper works for you. I’ve seen lots of modern ones advertised here and have to admit I am sometimes tempted to get one. 🙂

  2. Of the gadgets you mention I only used the chopper. Or lets say had the chopper because it didn’t get used past the first few times. At the fair there is a display of yesteryear items and I’ve been surprised to see that many I have had. Like the wooden rolling pin, even had a wash board at one time. They are great for decorating. Now… I’ve gotten rid of nearly everything as when I moved I made the decision to unclutter. Makes cleaning faster and easier.

    • Oh yes, Lavada, the wooden rolling pin. I had one for a while but “progressed” to a plastic Tupperware one that you filled with cold water and kept in the freezer – was so much easier to keep clean. Now I don’t even use one, using ready-rolled pastry instead or if I’m really in need, a glass bottle – works just as well. I love seeing the old bits and pieces, perhaps because they bring back happy memories from childhood. I too got rid of lots of my things that cluttered the cupboards when I had a new kitchen fitted some years ago. Now it’s just the food processor, microwave and food mixer – all kept out on the worktops. 🙂

  3. This brought back memories and gave me a laugh! I too had loads of Tupperware. One day I was helping at a fundraising sale and was busy demonstrating how to use some Tupperware when I realised it was MINE. My husband said he’d thought I wasn’t using it anymore so had donated it!! He didn’t repeat that mistake!!! Thanks Kit.

    • I too had a lot of Tupperware from when I used to demonstrate it. How funny to recognise your own items in the sale. I can well imagine the trouble your husband was in! 🙂 I’ve only a few items left, having given much away to family as I needed the space.

  4. wow that is cool. I love that she found her passion collecting them. I love looking at old kitchen tools and devices. Lots of great memories. JIllian

  5. Wow, all those teasmades! I remember the potato slicer and wall-mounted tea caddy, oh and the chopamatic! Happy memories. We did have a teasmade, but never used it. We must have thrown or given it away at some point. Only the other day, we were recalling the twin-tub washing machines. Had a lot of fun with those 😉 Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • Yes, the good old twin-tub. Mine was Rolls Royce make! Trouble was, whenever it was in use at the sink, it blocked my narrow galley kitchen and I couldn’t get out of the back door to hang the washing out! Happy days… not!

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