Unsung but Essential Icons

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As I control the creative direction of Aestheticons I choose what’s featured. Largely that means that I chose aspirational gems. However, instead of looking up in awe and appreciation we need to consider the more mundane.

The items featured in this piece are neither glamorous, alluring – unless you are into the really weird – nor really do anything in excess of their primary function. At that, they are superlative and without them elements of our busy lives would be a struggle. They are Unsung – not enjoying massive Instagram accounts with millions of adoring followers – but Essential Icons.

Cable ties

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I defy anyone who derives the smallest amount of pleasure from tending a garden, to fix a plant to a trellace or a bamboo cane or a brush screening to a gate without the use of a cable tie. Not only can this devilishly small but wonder strips of plastic fixing be a the gardener’s friend, they, with equal competence, support the work of electrician, plumbers and builders and many others in thousands of conceived and yet to be conceived ways.

Known as originally as Ty-Rap, cable ties were first invented, primarily to secure airplane wiring into the bulkhead, in 1958 by US based electrical business Thomas & Betts and more particularly their employee, Maurus C. Logan. Mr Logan developed into production the idea he’d conceived of aboard a Boeing during construction. The Patent was submitted on 24th June 1958.

Why not add to your tool drawer with this Amtech selection of 500 cable ties? Click the AMAZON link below the image

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Amtech S0680 Assorted Cable Tie, 500-Piece

WD40

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As our readers know I Like to cycle but over the winter months my bike has a tendency to be a little neglected and exposed to the elements. When the cooler seasons have done their worst on my waistline the time is right to look for the foot pump and adaptor and get some air into those bike tyres. The tyres are only half the battle. The gears, brakes and chain scream out for the TLC that can only be lavished on them by WD40 the spray delivered a light penetrating, protecting and lubricating oil.

As the saying goes a “Sucess has many Fathers” and there appears to be some controversy as to originator of WD-40. It seems that the formula of WD-40 was developed in 1953 by The Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego, California and first produced in commercially available quantities in 1958. The contributions – depending on sources – of a Iver Norman Lawson and a Norman Larson (President of Rocket) are named as the “inventor” of the formula with the name WD-40 seemingly stemming from the expression “Water Displacement  40th Formula” – suggesting there may have been a 39th, 38th and so on versions of the formula.

It may be that Lawson invented the low viscosity formula – still a trade secret but still has the original and distinctive smell – and sold it to Rocket where Larson had the bright idea of putting it into aerosol cans. It arrived in the UK in the late 1960’s.

For those many jobs around the home or office for which only WD-40 will do, why not pick up a can or two by clicking the AMAZON link below the image?

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3 x WD-40 Smart Straw Aerosol 420ml Penetrant, Lubricant, Releasant Oil / Stops squeaks / Cleans and protects / Loosens rusted parts / Frees sticky mechanisms

Paper Clips

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As a lawyer I am very pro the paper-less office, technology can teach us loads about sensible digital storage and retrieval. In parking our fears and posting to the Cloud we make a statement that’s more about efficiency and less about tree hugging.

For years we relied on the trust paper clip to secure our files, ensure correct attachments to letters and avoid inevitable embarrassment on a windy day. Called a “Trombone” in French, a literal use that I find very appealing, the simple paper clip does exactly what the tin says.

History tells us that in the US on April 23rd 1867 Samuel B. Fay successfully obtained the first Patent for a bent wire paper clip. On November 7th 1899 William D Middlebrook obtained a Patent for a paper clip making machine that produced an item – made popular as the “Gem Paper Clip” which went on sale in the UK in the 1870’s – and are similar to those sold today. The name Gem – trademarked in the US by Cushman and Denison in 1904 – became known Worldwide and in Sweden, I am told, that the word for paper clip is “Gem”.

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No desk is complete without a selection of plastic coated paper clips – please click the AMAZON link below the image to get yours.

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Zealor Paper Clips with Assorted Colors and Sizes (28 mm, 50 mm, 100 mm)

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – http://www.officemuseum.com, Zealor and the WD-40 Company Inc.

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Mike Hawthorn – 1958 Formula One World Champion

 

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At the weekend, with a couple of my kids, I visited the Brooklands Museum – see the Museums website here  – Brooklands Museum in Weybridge Surrey the home of British Aviation and early Motor Racing. My late father had been an early Trustee of the Museum assisting it to secure substantial support from Shell, his former employer. I am told there is a plaque to his memory on site but, sadly, we couldn’t locate it.

My father was a very keen follower of Motor Racing, he ran part of Shell’s  commitment to sport and visited tracks all over the world in the 1970’s and 80’s. As kids we even lived in the village of Silverstone.

Prior his early years in the Army and then in commerce in Africa and elsewhere, my Dad was schooled at Ardingly College in West Sussex. A rather typical English Boarding School which produced well rounded chaps in the 1940’s. His close friends and contemporaries included Bill Cotton (the son of the 1940’s Band Leader, “Billy Cotton”, who became the head of BBC TV) and John Michael (“Mike”) Hawthorn, who because of his hair coloring, was nicknamed “Snowball”. See our previous post mentioning Mike Hawthorn here – Morgan Cars

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Born in Yorkshire on 10th April 1929 this blond and debonair young man was an iconic British racing driver and the very essence of what made motoracing glamourous. He drove a Ferrari and his penchant for racing in a bow tie did much to concrete his reputation as a gentleman racer of the finest tradition. Behind his steely blue eyes lay a depth of grit and ambition that would see him secure the Formula One World Championship alongside a host of other trophies.

Mike Hawthorn’s biography “Challenge Me The Race” carries the line “The first motor races I ever saw were at Brooklands. I was only a very small boy, but to me it was heaven to watch the cars thundering round those towering cliffs of concrete where the banking curved under the Members’ Bridge, to wander along the lines of brightly coloured cars in their stalls in the paddock, to jump as an exhaust snarled suddenly and to sniff the aroma of castor oil.”

Leslie, Mike’s father had relocated from Doncaster to Farnham, Surrey – opening The Tourist Trophy Garage in 1931 – to be nearer Brooklands. His father is said to have driven a young Mike in a Riley 2.0 litre around the legendary track thus sealing his ambition to race. This must have been a fascinating era with the Sunbeam, Napier Railtons and Bentleys battling on the banked curves of the Brooklands circuit.

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Mike started racing bikes in 1947 and after a period in Formual Two driving a Cooper Bristol and being courted by the Jaguar team – managed by Lofty England –  he joined the Ferrari Team in 1953. He suffered burns following a crash in 1954 in Syracuse (Italy) and whilst  hospitalized his father was tragically killed in a car accident. Mike joined Jaguar in 1955 as team leader, replacing Stirling Moss. After a tragic Le Mans in 1955 and a week Jaguar performance at the same race in 1956 – which led to Jaguars retirement from racing – in 1957 Hawthorn rejoined Ferrari.

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On 19th October 1958 – nearly 60 years ago – driving for Scuderia Ferrari, Mike failed to win the Moroccan Grand Prix at the newly built Ain-Diab Circuit. He was beaten into second place by Stirling Moss driving a Vanwall. Despite his position, Hawthorn secured, by a single point (total 42 points), the 1958 Formula One World Championship, the first British driver to do so. Moss came second with 41 points. Anoraks will be amused to note that Bernie Ecclestone competed in the same race – one of only two starts ever by Bernie in a Formula One – the second being the same year at Silverstone.

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Immediately following the race Hawthorn announced his retirement from motoracing after eight amazing years. Sadly, the 29 year old champ was unwell following the loss of his friend Peter Collins and a recurrent, and, many have said probably terminal, kidney complaint.

Sadly on 22nd January 1959 Mike was killed in a British Racing Green, Mark 1 3.4 litre Jaguar – Reg VDU 881 – that had been loaned to him by the Jaguar team, that crashed on the Guilford by-pass. Whilst the circumstances are unclear it seems that on the wet surface with a witness attesting to seeing his car traveling at around 100 mph, he may have been racing Mercedes Team’s Rob Walker, who was driving a gull-winged doored Mercedes 300 SL.

See this dated Pathe newsreel announcing in its staccato voice over the sad news of Mike’s death  Mike Hawthorn Killed

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Image credits – used with grateful thanks Brooklands Museum, Pathe News and Motor Sports Magazine

Aestheticons’ Men’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Ladies

Xmas ladies

Guys, it’s that time of year when we know you may struggle to make the right gift choices for your ladies. At AEstheticons, we’ve done most of the hard work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts – as you’d expect they are all beautiful, iconic and design classics.

We believe your choices will be a perfect way to show your ladies just how thoughtful and full of the holiday spirit you are……I acknowledge receiving some help from Mrs W – but then again she has such good taste! Please enjoy!

PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Ladies buying for themselves or other Ladies!

After each image of the product is an Aestheticons post – if there is one – followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase. 

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Chanel – the Home of the Little Black Dress – founded in 1909 by Pierre Wertheimer and Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, also known as “Coco Chanel”. Their fragrances include the fabulous:

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Chanel AllureSo that’s what “Allure” means Chanel Allure Eau de Parfum – 50 ml

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Chanel No 5 – the iconic perfumeChanel No. 5 FOR WOMEN by Chanel – 50 ml EDP Spray

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Clarins tinted moisturizer – six colours to chose from depending on complexion. Mrs W is blond so No 4 (Blond) is her selection.

Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser SPF15, 50 ml – 04 Blond

carmex

Carmex: Taste those lips – Carmex Lip Balm

Carmex Original Tube & Pot duo pack

Tiger Balm 1

Tiger Balm: Go on just relax Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm Red, 3 pack

Clothes

CK ladies

Calvin Klein Underwear: Chic comfort

Calvin Klein Bustier. 3 Pack Womens Cotton Bralette (Black / Grey / White, S)
Calvin Klein Women’s Underwear Cotton Thong, Grey (Grey Heather 020), 8 (Manufacturer Size: S)
Calvin Klein .. Women’s Cotton Bralette and Thong Underwear Set (Black, M)

FOTL Grey T

Fruit of the Loom T Shirts: Simple and beautiful Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Lady-Fit Valueweight V-Neck T-Shirt SS047 (S, Heather Grey)

Wolford

Wolford tights: Sheer elegance

Wolford Hosiery Opaque 70 Matt Tights Small Black

Levi 711

Levi Jeans 711 – for size selection check her wardrobe for similar fitting trousers!

Jeans Levis 711 City Blues 2932 Blue

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Burberry Coat: Stylish, iconic and elegant  Burberry Trench Coat

BURBERRY Women’s Wkensington Long Coat, Beige (Honey 70500), Medium

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Gloverall duffle: Traditional warm  Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Women’s Mid Duffle Coat, Grey (Silver), 14

Rab parka

Rab Parka: The best down by far… Rab Down Jackets

Rab Women’s Microlight Parka – Indigo, 16

Boots and Shoes

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Hunter’s Wellington: They don’t need to be Green! Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Original Tall, Women’s Wellington Boots, Red (Military Red), 6 UK (39 EU)

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Ugg Boots: Warm feet…warm heart

Ugg Australia Classic Short II, Women’s Boots, Light Brown, 5.5 UK (38 EU)

Ugg Slip

Ugg Slippers: So that’s Winter sorted!

Ugg Australia Dakota, Women’s Casual, Chestnut, 6.5 UK (39 EU)

Bass Weje Lady

Bass Weejuns: Very stylish – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Womens G.H Bass Weejuns Esther Kiltie Slip On Smart Work Loafers Shoes – Black – 6

DM for Lady

Dr Martens: Yes, these look great on ladies too – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s Original 1460 Patent, Women’s Boots, Black, 6 UK(39 EU)

converse

Converse: Cool with jeans –  Converse – Chuck Taylor All Stars

Converse Allstar All Star Core Ox Canvas Navy M9697 5 UK

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Birkenstocks  – Heading for the beach? Birkenstocks

Birkenstock Gizeh, Womens-Adults’ Sandals, Blue, EU 37

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Skechers – she will love you for this, I challenge you to find a more comfortable shoe 

Skechers Women’s Go Walk 4-Pursuit Trainers, Black (Black), 7 UK 40 EU

Jewellery

Cartier tank

Cartier Women’s Tank Francais Stainless Steel – Because she really is worth it!

Cartier Women’s W51008Q3 Tank Francaise Stainless Steel Watch 

Swatch Rab

Swatch – an everyday watch to face most things! – Swatch

Swatch Women’s Watch YLS453

Sabo 1

Thomas Sabo Bracelet: A bracelet for memories

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Bracelet Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver Length 17 cm X0031-001-12-M

Sabo 2

Thomas Sabo Charms: A snowflake for Christmas

Thomas Sabo Women-Charm Pendant Snowflake Charm Club 925 Sterling Silver 0281-001-12

Desk

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Cross Sterling Silver pen: For fine writing  – Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

Smythsons Notebook

Smythsons Notebook: Poems and Prose

Live Love Laugh Panama Wallet Note Book Smythson red red One Size

Moleskine 18 red

Molskine Diary: Keep a track on your appointments

2018 Moleskine Scarlet Red Large Weekly Notebook Diary 12 Months Soft

Accessories

Dents gloves
Suede glove by Dents

Dents Ladies Short Classic Plain Soft Suede Gloves (Black, Medium)

Longchamp

Longchamp Le Pliage Bag

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Large Tote Bag bag

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Longchamp Le Pliage Rucksack

Longchamp Women’s Le Pliage Backpack Backpack

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Rayban Wayfarers: Always and icon  Rayban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban RB2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses 52mm, Black (901)

Graham Cash socks

Pure cashmere socks: Not just bed socks!

Graham Cashmere – Womens Cashmere Rib Socks – Made in Scotland – Gift Boxed – Mirage Blue

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Pure Cashmere Tartan Blankets: wrap up! 

Pure Cashmere Tartan Blanket, Royal Stewart

Sweet tooth

Bendicks
Bendicks bittermint: a mint hamper 

Bendicks Standard Hamper

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Charbonnel and Walker sea salt caramel truffles

Charbonnel et Walker Double Layer Sea Salt Milk Caramel Truffles 245 g

Stuff

Fit bit 2

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness – Pulse racing? 

Fitbit Alta HR Fitness Wristband – Fuchsia, Small (5.5-6.7 in)

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Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – More Advanced Technology From Dyson

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer – Fuchsia

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Amazon Kindle Fire: A quite read Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free, 10.1” 1080p Full HD Display, 32 GB, Black – with Special Offers

Ipod
Apple iPod Touch – load a playlist featuring some of her favourites. 

Apple 32 GB iPod Touch – Blue

Bose 35 c

BOSE Bose QuiteComfort 35

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

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Roberts Radio Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Vogue UK Kindle Edition Vogue UK – Sorry UK Only!

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of the Manufacturers

Aestheticons’ Lady’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Men

Xmas Men

Ladies, OK, I admit it – we men are not easy to buy for. So Aestheticons has done some of the leg work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts for Men – as you’d expect from us they are all great looking, iconic and design classics. We can assure you that they will be perfect to show the men in your life just how well you know them and their impeccable tastes…….Please enjoy! PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Men buying for themselves or other Men!

After each image there’s a link to the Aestheticons post – if one already exists – which is then followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase.

Clothes

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Levis 501Levi 501’s

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Stonewash), 34W x 32L

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RM Williams boots – RM Williams “Craftsman Boot”

R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:45

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Woolrich Shirt –Woolrich shirt –

Woolrich Men’s Sportsman Chamois Long Button Down Shirt, Dark Navy Heather, XXXL

bass-loafers

Bass weejuns – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Bass Larson Mens Leather Loafers Wine – 9 UK

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Dr Martens – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s 1460 Original, Men’s Boots, Aztec, 10 UK

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Vilebrequin shorts Vilebrequin swim shorts

Vilebrequin Danse du Feu Swim shorts – Men – turmeric – XL

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Lacoste Pique Lacoste Shirt

Lacoste Men’s L1212 Original Polo Shirt, Blanc (Blanc), Medium

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Ralph Polo – Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Men’s Classic Fit Solid Mesh (M, Bright Yellow)

Car T shirts 

Porsche T sh

Porsche 911 Targa Porsche 911 Targa Evolution of Man to Porche 911 T shirt

Mens Evolution of Man to PORSCHE 911 TURBO T-Shirt S – 5XL (Large, Black)

Alfa T shirt

Alfa Romeo Spider T shirt Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

Men’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider T-Shirt Indigo Blue, Large

VW KG

Karmann Ghia VW T Shirts  Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (LARGE(42-44), CHARCOAL)

Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino – Ferrari Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino Classic T-shirt L

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Classic & Sports Car Magazine Subscription – Sunbeam Alpine – Bond’s first car

Classic & Sports Car

hunters-boots

Hunter Wellingtons Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Men’s Original Tall Wellington Boots

Le Chameau

Le Chameau Boots The Country Is Calling – Be Prepared!

Le Chameau Chasseur Heritage Kevlar Mens Wellington Boots Green – 42 EU

barbour-jacket

Barbour Waxed Jacket Barbour Jacket

BARBOUR CPS0819 MWX Jacket Men XL

converse

Converse High Tops Converse – Chuck Taylor All Star

Converse Unisex-Adult Chuck Taylor All Star Hi-Top Trainers, Black- 8 UK

rab-jacket

Rab Jacket Rab Down Jackets

Men’s Microlight Alpine Down Jacket

guernesey-jumpers

Guernsey Jumper – Guernsey sweater

Traditional and Genuine Guernsey Jumper – Navy (46)

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Gloverall duffle coat Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Men’s Classic Duffle Coat, Grey (Grey),44 UK (54 EU )

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Hackett’s Moleskin Trousers – Hackett’s moleskin trousers

Hackett Men’s Slim Fit Moleskin Chinos 36 Regular Navy

CK Briefs

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Men’s Basics Button Front Boxer Briefs, Black, Medium

PS Socks

Paul Smith Socks

PAUL SMITH Mens Cotton Socks Maroon Red Pink Polka Dots One Size

FOTL T Shirt

Fruit of the Loom T Shirts – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Heavy T-Shirt Pack of 5, Heather Grey, X-Large

Tools

opinel-12

Opinel Knives – Opinel Knives

Opinel Trekking Knife No.8 with Leather Thong

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Swiss Army Knives Victorinox SwissChamp

Victorinox Swiss Champ Pocket Knife – Red, Medium

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Leatherman Wave Leatherman “Wave”

Leatherman Wave LT650 Pocket Tool

maglite

Maglite – Maglite D3 cell torch

Maglite ST3D016 3D Cell LED Torch – Black

wahl-clippers

Wahl clippers – Wahl Clippers

Wahl Super Taper Hair Clipper

Stuff

chanel-egoiste

Chanel Egoiste – Chanel Egoiste

Chanel Egoiste Eau de Toilette – 100 ml

gopro

Go Pro Camera – Go Pro Hero 4 camera

GoPro HERO5 Session Camera – Black

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Zippo Lighter – Zippo lighter

Zippo Armor Lighter – Brushed Brass

Oculus 1

Oculus Rift – Oculus Rift – a future classic?

Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch Controller

Casio Calc 2

Casio MS-8 Calculator – Casio MS-8 calculator

Casio MS-80VERII 8 Digit Currency Desk Calculator

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Eastpack backpack – Eastpak backpack

Eastpak Padded Pak’R Backpack – 24 L, Traditional Navy

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Rayban’s Wayfarers Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban 2132 New Wayfarer

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Apple 9.7 inch IPAD New 9.7″ iPad

Apple iPad Pro 9.7″ 128GB Wi-Fi – Space Grey

weber

Weber Grill – Weber Grill

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Barbecue 57 cm Black

B&W Zepplin 1

B&W Zeppelin – Bowers & Wilkins – Zeppelin

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Speaker – Black

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Roberts Radio – Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Anglepoise lamp – Anglepoise Lamp

Anglepoise Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp – Deep Slate

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Brooks Saddle – Brooks bicycle saddles

B17 STANDARD HONEY

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Artemide Tizio lamp – Artemide – Tizio lamp

Tizio 50 Desk Light Black

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Mont Blanc Rollerball – Mont Blanc Rollerball pen

MontBlanc Meisterstuck Platinum Line Ballpoint Pen – Black

amazon-5th

Amazon Kindle Fire – Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black — with Special Offers

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Moleskine Diary – Moleskine Notebook

2018 Moleskine Large Weekly Notebook Diary 18 Months Hard

Billingham 2

Billingham 225 Camera Bag – Billingham 225 Camera Bag

Billingham 225 Canvas Camera Bag With Tan Leather Trim – Khaki

Le Creu 5

Le Creuset Casserole – Le Creuset – Flame Kitchenwear

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Oval Casserole, 29 cm – Satin Black

Bose 35 c

BOSE QuietComfort 35 – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

Soundlink-Revolve

BOSE Soundlink Revolve – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker – Triple Black

Duralex Provo 1

Duralex Provence and Picardie Glasses – Duralex Provence  and Duralex Glass – Picardie

Duralex Super Strong Provence Tumblers Tumbler Glasses 8.8oz / 250ml (Box of 6) – Height 98mm

Duralex Picardie water glass 360ml, without filling mark, 6 Glasses

imperia

IMPERIA Pasta Maker – Imperia pasta machine

Imperia Italian Pasta Gift Set

Dualit Combi 3

A Dualit Toaster and a hamper of great holiday treats….. Holiday Breakfast

Dualit Combi 2+2 Toaster 42174 – Polished

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images all courtesy of manufacturers

Billingham 225 Camera Bag

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Returning to my core mission of celebrating aesthetically pleasing and classically designed icons mention must be made of the beautiful English made bags of M Billingham and Co Ltd – better known to us as “Billingham Bags”.

In 1973, Martin Billingham founded his eponymous business making fishing bags and forty years on the business is still in family ownership. Indeed the essence of the light brown canvas bags are reminiscent of a trout fishing bag my father gave me over forty years ago complete with many internal sections for reels and tackle. By 1978 it was discovered that a large number of their bags were being sold to a New York based photographer thus igniting the most important connection between these durable water-resistant canvass and rubber bonded bags, edged in finest leather and their obvious target market.

Typically a Billingham bag is full of sections divided by velcro sided foam panels that can be varied to accommodate several lenses, camera bodies, flash units and filters. The larger models also feature external straps to hold tripods.

The world of photography has undergone a revolution in its transition to digital image capture and a trend away from larger SLR type cameras – Please check out here our piece on the new Hasselblad X1D – Hasselblad X1D to the more convenient “point and shoot” or even the use of a high pixel camera like that of the new iPhone X. Yet it seems that the future of the Billingham bag, as the bag of choice for the professional or serious amateur  photographer, seems set for many years to come. The Billingham range has also evolved to offer a range of smaller bags designed for compact cameras and their accessories.

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I bought my first Billingham bag, a large brown canvass 225 with chestnut leather piping, in the late 1980’s to accommodate my beloved SLR camera, a Nikon 801 body – to which I had attached a Nikon motor drive – and had a large flash unit, several Nikkor zoom and wide angled lenses, straps, boxes of Ilford and Kodachrome film – both black and white and colour – and a tripod. It was an excellent collection that I used regularly and produced some pretty decent photos. My habit of saving both boxes and receipts from my favourite camera shop “Fox Talbot” (that merged with lager rival “Jessops” in 1998 now owned by TV’s Dragon’s Den investor, Peter Jones) stood me in good stead. In the middle 1990’s, when we were away on holiday and our house was being renovated and some light fingered painter/decorator stole my entire Billingham bag and its contents. The insurance company were impressed by my proofs of purchase and refunded the entire loss allowing me to replace my favourite bag and its contents.

For me the most adaptable bag in the current Billingham range – and there are more expensive ones – and the one I have owned for several years, is the Billingham 225 – see here a live review of this bag –Billingham 225 camera bag

If you would like to enjoy the evident benefits of these most appealing icons of modern photography please click the AMAZON link below the image

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Billingham 225 Canvas Camera Bag With Tan Leather Trim – Khaki

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Image credits M. Billingham & Co Ltd and Hasselblad AB

Casio MS-8 calculator

Casio Calc 2

Ask any Police Constable who has been on the beat for a while and he/she will attest to the truth that the stuff that gets stolen tends to be the more popular items such as iPhones, Samsung Galaxy 8 and the Casio MS-8 calculators. What?

Well, in my house it doesn’t seem to matter how many I buy my light fingered family, if quizzed would crumble and admit that they too had borrowed – yes that it’s there, there in your handbag…. one of my favourites, a design classic and iconic piece of desk hardware – the Casio MS-8 calculator.

The cleanliness of its simple lines, its above average sized display and built in power source with a simple solar cell makes the Casio MS-8 just very good at doing its job. Also, on newer models before it switches off, to save the solar cell’s charge the word “CASIO” is displayed on its screen just in case you may have forgotten who delivered you such a masterful display of calculation.

My parents, despairing at my obvious inabilities with simple maths homework, allowed me in 1975 to be one of the first kids on the block to enjoy the crunchy key technology and fluorescent eight digit display of the Sinclair Oxford 200. It was designed by electronics genius Sir Clive Sinclair, known in the UK as the man who invented the pocket calculator and his fine work certainly saw me cruise certain tricky maths tests.

SinclairOxford200_1

It amuses me, forty years on, to see the contents of my old school pencil case’s on display at international design museums – but it was truly innovative.

The paucity of calculators on sale at any major supermarket chain confirms my suspicions that the available calculator apps on iPhones and Galaxies are, for many, the extent necessary of their need for to calculate. Whilst I am very fond of my iPhone and many of its amazing functions are breathtaking its calculator is rubbish and irritates me  – despite a recent update that appears to have done little more than change its colours and fonts!

Whilst my son has mastered the heights of a scientific calculator. His came with a manual the depth of “War and Peace” printed in several European languages but its complexity is daunting for the simplest percentage or fractional calculation.

There is a childish trick that I always perform on a box-fresh Casio MS-8 calculator; my dear Dad was an oil man who worked in for many years in senior capacities at Shell. At some point in 1975, he showed me that by computing the sum “14215469 x 5” the result being “71077345” when the calculator is inverted it reads “SHELLOlL” – go on try it I know you want to…..

Here, get your very own Casio MS-8 calculator by clicking the following AMAZON link Casio MS-80VERII 8 Digit Currency Desk Calculator

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Images courtesy of Casio/Nigel Tout at vintagecalculators.com

 

The Hovercraft

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Seldom do we seen such a dramatic shift away from one established technology with the arrival of a competing and, often, better new technology or solution – this is described by the cruelly true word of “obsolesce”.

A classic example is the Kodiak 35mm film or the Polaroid camera – see our earlier piece here on the Polaroid Camera – when confronted with the dawn of mass digital photography and the ever increasing pixels of the cameras incorporated into mobile phones demand for these former market leaders collapsed.

The powered or manual ribbon typewriter was rendered redundant by the arrival its victor, the word processor/computer.

An equally dramatic commercial market shift can be seen in the impact that the opening of the Channel Tunnel, in May 1994 and the commencing of its passenger services in November 1994, had on the transport links typified by ferry boats and today’s iconic design, The Hovercraft.

On many occasions from the mid 1970’s to late 1980’s I used the Hovercraft services that ploughed between the Kent coasts and Northern France. Akin to flying, rising up then skuttling across the waves on its air inflated “skirt”, the ride was fabulous – if a little noisy – for the sea-sick prone, like me, who could resemble an emerald before a traditional ferry boat had left the harbour!

Not entirely without predecessors, the Hovercraft is regarded as a British invention of  the late 1950’s when mechanical engineer Christopher Cockerell’s and his colleagues developed an annular ring of air for maintaining the cushion and providing lift under the vehicle, combined with a successful “skirt”, resulted in the first practical vehicular use of the concept.

Initially, until no military use was shown, Cockerell’s work and design were Classified. However, it was later Declassified and in 1958 Cockerell obtained funding for a full scale model. Launching in June 1959, it crossed the English Channel on 25 July 1959.

By 1968 a car and passenger cross-channel ferry service was offered by Hoverlloyd from the Kent coast to Calais and Boulogne (France) and, later, by Seaspeed – a joint venture with British Rail and the French equivalent SNCF. In 1981 the two businesses merged to become “Hoverspeed” – whose majestic craft is our featured image.

Hoverspeed Brochure

The Hoverspeed services ceased in 2000 and were replaced by Seacat catamarans until 2005. The reason, often cited for their closure was the impact of the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

I’d also suggest the routes suffered from a decline in so-called “Booze Cruises”, when us Brits, would fill up our cars with lowly taxed beers, wines and spirits in Northern France.

Hoverspeed Booze

Although the Hovercraft continues to enjoy a role, both in the military and civilian services around the world, and production still taking place on the Isle of White – the  home of its design and testing – perhaps like Concorde – see our earlier post here – Concorde by Dominic Baker in years to come and market forces identify demand there will be a revival in the fortunes of the Cross Channel Hovercraft services, I would be a keen supporter.

Hover 2

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Photo credits – Hover Speed And MarkusHerzig.com