Gizmos and gadgets from American Science

September 1, 2008 10:32:56 AM PDT
The kids are heading back to school, but that doesn't mean playtime is over for them or for the grownups. If you love gadgets and gadgets, if you're tired of the same old science projects, or just are in the mood to waste some time, head over to American Science & Surplus stores in Chicago and suburban Geneva. Their motto is one clue: "We encourage you to visit; our stores aren't just worth the trip, they ARE a trip." The stores, and the company's website, are filled with gadgets, gizmos and devices of all kinds.We are fascinated by discovery and invention. And we are dedicated to having fun along the way," says Paul Chapman of American Science and Surplus. The stores offer an eclectic range of products, many with a science or educational tilt to them, others simply handy or amusing. "Value is important, he adds. "Whenever we can, we carry surplus at prices well below retail. We love closeouts, inventory overruns, mis-manufactures, and items whose time has not come."

When they can't find surplus, they may carry regular merchandise which they think those interested in learning and tinkering will find appealing. "Littered in and around this stuff are whimsical things that we carry because, well, because we like them." Paul says.

Customers have used American Science and Surplus items in homemade cars, sculptures, precision instruments, homemade telescopes, costumes, model railroads, window dressings, holiday decorations, and innumerable science projects.

Here are some fun gadgets to enjoy on the weekends or the last holiday of the summer.

All products are available at: American Science & Surplus www.sciplus.com or www.labwarehouse.com

Hot Dog!
Couch Potato meets the great outdoors! Exhausted by the hike from the tent to the campfire, CP manages to impale a marshmallow on the forked end of a stainless steel skewer. Now he can lie back (the telescoping skewer extends from 11-1/4" to 28"), grip the genuine faux-wood-grain plastic handle of the Spinmallow" like a TV remote, and let it spin the marshmallow over the fire. It's all he has the energy for, after sliding his (2) "AA" batteries into the compartment in the handle, and Spinmallowing a hot dog.

92375 Spinmallow; $9.95

Flying Bird
From France comes this fun mechanical plastic bird that really flies by flapping its wings. It is about 8" long and has a wingspan of 16" tip to tip. Snap the wings in place, wind up the rubberband drive and toss it gently into the air on its maiden flight. It flies up to fifty yards with a satisfying fluttering sound. Comes with a spare rubberband drive mechanism.

88566 Flying bird toy; $9.95

Super Sun Scope
Extreme excitement! The new Solarscope has arrived, and everyone's howling at the sun! Use this solar viewing device outside on sunny days to watch sun spots, solar eclipses, even clouds drifting across your line of sight. You can determine the earth's and sun's rotation rates, the earth's pole axis inclination, your latitude, terrestrial orbit eccentricity, and more. The adjustable frame is sturdy cardboard with colorful graphics. It's easy to assemble and break down for storage, and light enough to move around without any effort. Measures 15" tall when resting in its 10" x 11-1/2" base. Comes with instructions. It's made and sold in France by Light Tec Optical instruments, and we're one of the few Solarscope sources in this country.

93452 Solarscope; $69.95

Read My Pocket, Earthling
Be a walking LED message board. Those nametags with just your name are soooo 20th century. Our LED Moving Name Tag is 4" across x 1-5/8" high in plastic, with a 3-1/2" long x approx 3/4" high red LED screen that scrolls up to six messages. You can adjust the scrolling speed and program (1) message of 512 characters, and (5) of 256 characters. Runs on two lithium batteries (included, along with a spare set) and sticks tight to your lapel or pocket with a pin.

36714 LED Name Tag; $19.95

Big Bug Net
Entomologist and janitor alert! Catch butterflies and other bugs (and errant bats) in this oversized, but very collapsible, critter net. The sturdy aluminum handle extends from 18" up to 30" and the removable 14" dia ring folds down to a 11" x 3-1/2" eyebrow shape. The fine-mesh nylon net is conical and a full 36" long. Very nice.

93422 Bug net; $11.50

Full of Hot Air?
It will be when you inflate it with a hair dryer or heat gun. Here's a great big (8-foot x 6-foot when inflated) hot air balloon, of lightweight vinyl in colorful stripes just like the full-sized ones, but with a spool of nylon monofilament so you can tether it and fly it again tomorrow instead of chasing it down the block. Cool use for hot air! Adult supervision required.

92906 Hot Air Balloon; $19.95

DIY Traffic Light
People running around your house or office willy-nilly? Barging in where they aren't welcome? You may need to build your own traffic light from our genuine take-out red, yellow (really amber), and green traffic signals. They're all 12" dia with internal LEDs. Some are approx 5-3/4" deep, and some approx 3-1/2" deep with a slight downward bevel on the lens cover. They all draw between 6W and 22W at 120VAC, they all have about 3-foot leads and watertight casings, and they're all bright enough to frighten large mammals. Nice for drivers' ed programs, or keeping people out of the refrigerator, too. Better not put off ordering these lights, boys and girls. We know we're gonna run right through them.

38410 Red Light; $24.50

38411 Yellow Light; $24.50

38412 Green Light; $24.50

Air Powered Rocketry
The Stomp Rocket(tm) is an incredible toy you almost have to see and do yourself to believe. No battery or fuel required, just a good pair of gym shoes and the ability to jump onto the launch pad will send your rockets blasting 400 ft. into the sky at incredible speeds up to 100 mph! The launch, or 'Blast Pad' is a 4" x 8" rubber air 'box' with a 36" hose and 10" launch tube secured to an adjustable plastic tripod. Your rockets (four are included) are approx 7/8" dia x 9" long, made of bright yellow plastic, with soft rubber tips and fins. At first glance it looks like an OK toy, but preliminary 'right out of the box' tests showed that simply squeezing the blast pad by hand sent a rocket clear across our 25 ft. office. Needless to say, taking it outside and jumping on it made our jaws absolutely drop! Instructions suggest height and distance contests and even target practice (because of the fine adjustment achievable on the launcher tripod). Although shooting one into your hand right at the launch pad doesn't hurt, safety regulations are included along with the insistence of using safety goggles. We also have regular replacement rockets that come (2) rockets per our each.

89608 Stomp Rocket; $15.95

90325 Replacement Rockets; $3.95

Wow! Double Wow!
This is Philip's new favorite toy, since he blasted a rocket so high over our parking lot that he lost sight of it (the rocket, not the parking lot). The Air Burst(tm) Rocket system has a 26" tall, air-powered tri-pod launcher made of plastic and rigid foam. A 65" long air hose connects it to any stand-up bike pump. After a few pumps, the air pressure bursts a replaceable booster disc in the launcher and sends a 10" x 3/4" dia rocket 250 to 1000 feet into the air. Wow! The system includes the launcher, (2) rockets, and (60) boosters (two different weights). Sending rockets out of sight, even if they usually come straight back down, is an ingenuous ploy for selling extra rockets. Our each is a pack of (2). And having extra rockets is an ingenuous ploy for selling extra booster discs. Our each is another bag of (60). No bicycle pump? The 18" black Tech Team pump blew majestically through a "double bozon" booster for us! It creates up to 120 lbs of pressure while most pumps will only generate 80 psi. It fits a Schrader (American) valve. Warning: The Air Burst(tm) Rocket is for ages 10 and up, with adult supervision. Don't let us catch you out there without a kid!

92025 Air burst rocket system; $29.95

92026 Extra rockets; $6.95

92027 Extra booster discs

92028 Air Pump

The Mother Of All Fresnel Lenses
It came from either outer space, or a projection TV. Our largest Fresnel lens measures 49-1/8" x 37-1/8" x 1/16" thick, with a 42" focal length. Build your own lighthouse or projection TV, teach optical properties to students, or just turn your 21-inch model into one with a tavern-size picture. Held in the sun, the lens will concentrate rays enough to cook eggs or torch lumber. And, under adult supervision in the parking lot, employees of a certain un-named scientific and surplus purveyor actually melted pennies in seconds. Extremely cool and done strictly, we assure you, to determine the lens's focal length. Do not, we shouldn't have to remind you, store this puppy in direct sunlight. Or let the underage or under-mature sneak it into the sunlight.

37930 Huge Fresnel lens; $129.95

We've Got A Handle
Well, we've got a handle on this one, anyway. And it needs one, cuz it'll grab onto (and hold onto) 100 lbs if the surface is flat. It's an instant handle for moving big steel stuff. With its open-ended handle, it even works as a no-installation hook on an I-beam. Handle and magnet together are 5" long x 3-1/2" tall x 1' thick, with a plastic body for the ceramic magnets, and a rubberized grip. Paul says it's quite, well, handy.

93131 Handle magnet

Half-Mile Horn
Blow into the little mouthpiece and people four blocks away will look up. Folks any closer will spill their mocha frappucinos in their laps. Actually we think the manufacturer's half-mile-range claim might even be an understatement. The Mega Sound Blaster delivers the loudest horn blast we've ever heard from this small a package (3" long x 2-1/4" dia). It has a 30" neck cord, so you'll always be ready to scare the bejeebers out of woodland critters, tell the rangers you're lost, call the kids in from the lake, or impersonate an 18-wheeler.

92997 Mega Blaster

Pow! Pow! Pow!
It's 1953 all over again! Now you can buy your favorite childhood toy for your grandkids! We have the original Burp Gun that rapid-fires small ping-pong-type balls the length of our office as fast as we can pump the barrel (no batteries needed). All right, we remember the grip of the original as plain old brown plastic, and this one is bright red - but kids are used to a lot more stimulation these days! The Burp Gun, which comes with 15 balls, is 30" long when fully extended. The Burp Pistol, which comes with 7 balls, is 12" at its smallest and extends to 17". Great fun - but maybe you'd better buy a couple of bags of extra balls (10 per bag). Big sisters still stomp on them.

92020 Burp Gun; $15.95

92021 Burp Pistol; $3.95

92022 Extra balls

Official Bozo Buckets!
Just like on TV. Bozo may be gone, but his Buckets live on, and you can still play Larry Harmon's Bozo" the Clown Bucket Bonanza Grand Prize Game". Includes (6) authentic, numbered and Bozo-emblazoned buckets 6" across, the red plastic runner to snap them to, and (2) genuine, Bozo-approved ping-pong balls, all of which fit into an amazingly compact box for storage. Comes with the Rooten Tooten Rules, but does not include any handsome prizes, which you will have to supply. (See the rest of this catalog.)

93564 Bozo Buckets; $24.95 per set

"Hit Me Again. I'm Still Stupid."
No reason to neglect your education while you're playing blackjack. Just use our special heuristic playing cards and you'll learn something, even if you do lose your shirt. The Elemental cards are a double deck, (104) cards plus (4) jokers in a plastic case. In addition to the standard playing card values, the decks cover the (up-to-date, 2006) periodic table of elements. Each card includes one element's atomic number, symbol, series, melting and boiling points, period/group, uses, est. atomic weight, standard state, and the element's name in English. The Bones cards are a deck of (52) plus (2) jokers covering the human skeletal system, with names and full-color illustrations, and yes, the four of clubs is connected to the five of clubs.

93408 Human Bone Cards; $7.95 each

93185 Elemental cards; $14.95 each

Breakthrough in microscope technology!
Our LCD Digital Microscope replaces traditional eyepieces with an LCD Screen for easy and comfortable viewing for you and to share with others. The LCD Digital Microscope also features a built-in digital camera for quick and easy snapshots or short videos. Store captured photos and clips on the optional SD card or transfer them to your personal computer via included USB cable. This innovative product combines advanced professional grade microscope features and an easy to use point and shoot camera. The Celestron LCD Digital Microscope is an ideal tool for up close examination of everything from stamps, coins and other common objects to specimen slides of yeasts, molds, cultures, fibers, bacteria and insects.

14473 LCD Digital Microscope (LDM); $299.95


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