In 1983, J. Roderick MacArthur, CEO of Hammacher Schlemmer, establishes the Hammacher Schlemmer Institute - an independent, but affiliated, branch of the Hammacher Schlemmer Company whose sole purpose is to comparative test top-of-the-line products. Through the Institute, products are tested under laboratory conditions, home- and field-tested in order to rate them based on superior function, ease of use and quality. Also, Hammacher Schlemmer opens its first store outside of New York, on Chicago's famed North Michigan Drive.
The same year that Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, on board the Space Shuttle Challenger, Michael Jackson performs the dance move that will forever be known as the "moonwalk" at Motown 25.
Hammacher Schlemmer unveils the World's Smallest, Lightest Pocket Television. The television displays images on a 23/4-inch diagonal LCD screen instead of a conventional cathode ray picture tube, making it lighter and more compact than any other pocket model available. Powered by three AA batteries, the television sells for $299.50.
A New York Times article describes how we overhauled our New York store to refocus our efforts on "The Best, The Only, and The Unexpected". We closed six of the seven selling floors in the building and installed new lighting, cleaner displays and refitted moldings to create "an environment of almost a living museum, a very interesting atmosphere where people would not only come to shop but to see what's new and different".
Our Fall Catalog is the first to include ratings from the newly established Hammacher Schlemmer Institute. Using an "enstar" rating system (a blue seven-point star) products are awarded one, two, or three enstars depending on The Institute's evaluation. One Enstar designates a "Unique" product which not only effectively performs the tasks for which it was designed but does so in a markedly unique manner; Two Enstars means "Best of Kind", a product identified as the best performing in some specialized class within its overall category; Three Enstars distinguishes a product as "Best Overall" without qualification.