So much cooler than a calculator


... and less Luddite than an abacus, it's the perfect gift for your mathematician friend who has everything: it's Consul the Educated Monkey.

Consul, who was first created in 1916, is the best kind of toy: He's fun, but he also teaches kids something without them realizing it. If you move Consul's feet so they point at two numbers, his hands move to point at the product. Replace the multiplication table with a cardboard addition table, and Consul adds the numbers at his feet. A cardboard instruction sheet listing Consul's talents notes that "it makes no difference whether children are bright or stupid, he never loses patience at having to answer their questions." Would that all math teachers were so forgiving...

via Letters to Marc Jacobs