The Listeners Weigh In

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

This week we've been hearing about favorite gadgets - from people who design and sell them. Many listeners wrote in to tell us about favorite gadgets, too. Three listeners join us: John Sturdevant, Eve Leedy and Vince Lupo.


This week at this time, we've been hearing about favorite gadgets from people who design and sell them. Who many of you wrote in to tell us about your favorite gadgets. We've learned about hand cranked flashlights, water bottles with foreign phrases on them, all manner of kitchen tools and something called a skrench. Well now, we'll hear our three listeners and their favorites.

Mr. VINCE LUPO: My name is Vince Lupo and I'm a commercial photographer here in Baltimore, Maryland. I really love vintage camera equipment. And my favorite gadget is a vintage motor drive for my Lyca camera from the 1930s. A motor drive advances the film - if you remember film - and then resets the shutter after you take the picture.

(Soundbite of camera exposures)

Mr. LUPO: And if you do want to do multiple exposures. It's chrome plated brass. It's fairly heavy, and it has this large key on the bottom for winding it up. There were about 3,000 of these motor drives made during the 1930s. And it's a fairly rare piece of equipment, and it works as well today as it did 70 years ago.

Ms. EVE LEEDY: My name is Eve Leedy and I have a gadget that's very humble. I've had it for my entire life and it's an ice pick. Before me, it belonged to my great aunt. And I've seen her - I saw here use it when I was very small. She was born in 1901 and she was from the old school. And everything she did was by hand, and it was something that she dug out to pry something off of a piece of cardboard or out of a piece of wood, she would get out the ice pick.

She used that ice pick for all different things and when she died, I dug through all of her things and I got certain things out of her kitchen and I found the ice pick. I got some pots and pans. I used it just last night to fix the leash I use with my sunglasses. I sometimes will use it with duct tape stuck on the end of it, and you can reach down into small crevices and retrieve things. Pretty simple tool.

Mr. JOHN STURDEVANT: My name is John Sturdevant. I live in Houston, Texas. And I love music. But the problem with CDs is opening the case. Anybody who still listens to CDs knows what I'm talking about. Everybody out there is probably nodding their head right now saying oh, yeah.

But I have this little device, and I don't know what it's called. I got it three years ago, I think, at a trade show as a giveaway to trade show booth. Imagine a blue plastic hockey puck. And along one edge is a flat surface and there are two holes in that surface, and one of them has a little plastic nub sticking out of it. Now, if I push that nub - I'll do it right now - this blade comes out of the other hole. But it's just long enough that when I slide it along the edge of a CD in its shrink wrap, it magically slices the shrink wrap and that annoying sticky label on the inside.

Shall I demonstrate it now? Like, I have Bob Dylan's “Modern Times” CD here.

(Soundbite of slicing)

Mr. STURDEVANT: That's it. It worked. Shall we listen to it?

(Soundbite of song, “Spirit On The Water”)

SIEGEL: This is Bob Dylan's “Modern Times” CD as opened by John Sturdevant. We also heard from Eve Leedy and Vince Lupo. Thanks to all of you who wrote in.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from