Posted on November 19 2019
A gadget is a small tool such as a machine that has a particular function but is often thought of as a novelty. Gadgets are sometimes referred to as gizmos.
The etymology of the word is disputed. The word first appears as a reference to the 18th-century tool in glassmaking that was developed as a spring pontil. As stated in the glass dictionary published by the Corning Museum of Glass, a gadget is a metal rod with a spring clip that grips the foot of a vessel and so avoids the use of a pontil. Gadgets were first used in the late 18th century. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there is anecdotal (not necessarily true) evidence for the use of "gadget" as a placeholder name for a technical item whose precise name one can't remember since the 1850s; with Robert Brown's 1886 book Spunyarn and Spindrift, A sailor boy’s log of a voyage out and home in a China tea-clipper containing the earliest known usage in print.