Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

They say weight equates to quality

I’m not sure who ‘They’ might be, but ‘They’ seem to think that ‘weight=quality’.

If you have ever dismantled a product that could have been lighter, but found it had lump of metal (or something similarly weighty) hidden within it, then you’ve found a product that was given a bit of weight just to make it feel more substantial and expensive.

Rotary dial phone with wired handset

Rotary dial phone with wired handset

The first specific item I came across using this example of ‘The Art of Deception’ was a humble telephone handset. Once common, these near extinct pieces of hardware were connected to a land-line telephone base unit by something called ‘A Cord’, and allowed the user to hold a small loudspeaker against their ear, and a microphone near their mouth – ALL in one unit that could be held in the hand. Remarkable ingenuity for the time. People who only ever grew up with cellphones have an understandably hard time imagining something like this:

Our particular example was known as the Philips Sopho-S, and was supposedly very clever, said to be fully digital and ISDN – no dial tone and near instant connection. I not only had a desk phone with a digital display, but also a software phone that ran on my PC. But then again, I was also the SysAdmin. It may have been advance, but was also a pain to use, as everything had to be accessed via command codes. In other word, you had to remember the number sequences to punch in to get it to do things. Possibly more interesting was that it was manufactured by one of out clients, TMC in Airdrie. I think that lasted until the mid-1990s, when Philips sold it off.

That sleek handset seen below came with a lump of steel buried in the middle (actually just a piece of steel bar cut to fit), just to make it ‘feel’ more substantial.

Philips Sopho-S telephone

Philips Sopho-S telephone

The most recent example of ‘weight=quality’, which I found during a recent dull day, was inside a ‘solar torch’. These work surprisingly well (certainly better than any wind-up torches I have collected, and always die not long afterwards), and I pulled this one out of storage, and was worried when it showed no life at all despite being sat in a window for a couple of day. Turns out it’s fine, but the human eye compensates for dull days, and that was the only problem, as it jumped into life once the clouds turned from grey to white. I should have known better.

When I slipped the case off, I was intrigued to see that it had a lump of metal occupying the centre of the case, stuck there for no other reason than to make this feel like a ‘quality’ item. The battery normally sits in the space to the left, but the holder and cover are fitted into the other half of the case:

Inside an Enex Solar Torch

Inside an Enex Solar Torch


Here’s an interesting thing, spotted some time after I wrote the above…

I’m not familiar with the junk headphones they are referring to in the article given below, but it seems that some are saying the addition of metal to them is a intended to make them feel like a better quality article, so is somehow conning the buyers.

Frankly, anybody who is stupid enough to part with something in the order of £200 on the basis that it has some famous nobody’s name on it deserves to be conned, since they have already demonstrated they are happy to be (conned).

Are Beats Headphones Really Designed To Trick You? | Gizmodo UK

Seriously people – if something has a celebrity’s name on it, you are being ripped off, simple as that.

Their name only goes on there after their agent has left the room with a suitcase filled with cash


March 14, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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