10 YEARS AGO — 2002
Practicing to the extreme: If you ever wanted to learn extreme sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, or surfing, now’s your chance. Pivit LLC, Franklin Lakes, N.J., has designed a durable fiberglass balance board called Pivit that lets riders jump, flip, balance, and spin. The board is supported underneath by one wheel in the center. The design lets riders safely practice tricks, footings, and techniques. Removable bumper- style stabilizers help ease first-time riders through the learning process. Optional built-in LED timers let riders measure their skills and practice for competition.
30 YEARS AGO — 1982
Handyman’s tool pinpoints air leak: A $20 energy-audit tool called Thermo Guard by Metrifast, New Hyde Park, N. Y., locates drafts around windows, doors, electrical outlets, fireplaces, and other places heat losses occur. It even detects impossible-to-see insulation breaks behind walls, according to the company. The batterypowered instrument is operated by unscrewing the protective probe cover and setting the meter indicator to “normal.” When the heat-sensitive tip is pointed at a heatloss (or heat-gain) area from a distance of about ½ in., the dial indicator clearly indicates the source of the problem. Temperature sensitivity is 1/25 of a degree and effective operating range is from –58 to 167°F.
50 YEARS AGO — 1962
Watering the lawn requires setting a few dials with Moist O’Matic, made by a subsidiary of Toro Mfg. Corp., Minneapolis. The unit can be programmed for 14 days and controls up to 11 separate watering stations. Days for watering, hour of the day, and duration of watering for each station are preselected. A hydrostat — a porous ceramic vessel available with the system — is buried in the ground. It senses when the soil’s moisture content is too low and triggers the Moist O’Matic into action. Watering can be controlled by the hydrostat; by the preset program; or manually, for special watering needs.