gadgets, gizmos & widgets oh my!

Gadgets, Gizmos & Widgets Oh My!

July 15, 2018 Audrey W.

Did you know that the first atom bomb was nicknamed “The Gadget”? It was created in 1945 in the G-Division  as an implosion-type of device with a plutonium core surrounded by smaller explosives .

So What the Heck is a Gadget Really?

The word gadget is coined from the French word: “gachette” or “gagee”, meaning a small tool or accessory. Another school of reasoning traces the origin of the word to the 19th century where it was purportedly invented by a company: Gaget, Gaunthier & Cie.

What About Gizmos & Widgets? What I have found is that all three terms Gadgets, Gizmos & Widgets generally refer to the same thing.  They are tools, or segments of a more complex machine.  Often these words are used as a generic term when people cannot remember an exact name of a device, machine or component.
In a 1965 publication titled: The Great Gizmo, it is defined as “a small self-contained unit of high performance…whose function is to transform some undifferentiated set of circumstances to a condition nearer human desires…”.

Do You Like Beer? Check Out This Beer Widget:

Guinness created a beer widget in Ireland during the 1960’s. It was a small  hollow spherical ball of plastic placed into cans of beer to help control the characteristics of the beers foam or head.

Basically liquid nitrogen is often used to pressurize beer cans as it vaporizes and allows the volume of the liquid to expand inside the can after it’s been sealed.  This nitrogen and carbon dioxide form oxygen inside the canned beer which can alter it’s natural flavors. To combat this, a floating widget is placed inside the can collecting gas bubbles and beer inside it’s hollow core until the can is opened. This reduces the amount of pressure within the can and released the bubbles of gas out of the widget.  This effect preserves the taste and promotes good creamy foam or head.

In This Day & Age

In todays terms, computer software is usually coined a gadget. Interestingly enough widgets are thought to be components of computer software so the two work together in the modern age.

Examples of the computer widget within software include icons, pull-down menus, buttons, option boxes, scroll bars, margin, rulers, toggle icons, etc. We see these options on modern smartphones, clocks, cameras, printers and TV menus. 

So Why are Gadgets, Gizmos & Widgets a part of Steampunk Culture?

As displayed in my blog post What The Heck is Steampunk? , “steampunk is a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.” Typically, the historical elements refer to time periods in which steam-powered machinery was utilized rather than advanced technology. Suddenly the typical icon symbols seen when titled steampunk such as goggles, gears/widgets all begin to make sense!

I hope you learned some cool stuff from Gadgets, Gizmos & Widgets Oh My! Check out some awesome functional gadgets featured in our Steampunk Shopping section.

Audrey W. Entrepreneur | Nerd | Blogger *Special thanks to Steampunkable for allowing us to feature their products on our blog and site 🙂

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