Retro Kit-Cat Klocks Are Getting an 'Exotic' Makeover

Kit-Cat Klock
Kit-Cat Klock

In the middle of The Great Depression, inventor Earl Arnault decided that the country needed was a fun little pick-me-up. He had hoped his Kit-Cat Klock—a cat-shaped clock with moving eyes, a wagging tail, and a pleasant smile—could create some small moments of happiness during troubled times. Now, 86 years after the first Kit-Cat Klock was sold by the Allied Clock Company, the Art Deco-style timepieces are bringing joy to a new generation.

Aside from the bow tie and top paws (at the 10 and 2 markers) being added in the 1950s, Kit-Cat’s appearance hasn’t changed much over the years. She just gets a refreshed wardrobe every now and then. The California Clock Company (formerly Allied Clock) continues to dress Kit-Cat in new yet vintage-inspired patterns, and their latest Exotic Pet Collection includes tiger stripes, camouflage, leopard spots, a giraffe print, and other playful designs.

“Each clock is made in California and one-of-a-kind,” the company explains on its website. “To get their wild new look, the clocks are then dipped in premium hydrographic patterns in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri, ensuring no two clocks will ever be the same.”

For each Exotic Pet Collection purchase, customers can go online and download a certificate to “adopt” their Kit-Cat Klock. They’ll receive a lifetime membership card (valued at $10) and they can also choose a charity to benefit from their purchase. The company donates at least $1 to organizations like Big Cat Rescue and The Humane Society with each clock sold.

Although it might seem as if the clocks are making somewhat of a comeback, the truth is that they never really went away. According to the company, someone buys a Kit-Cat Klock once every three minutes. The novelty wall decorations have appeared in several movies, television series, and music videos, including the beginning of Back to the Future and Taylor Swift’s music video for We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.

Why Are Shower Doors in Hotel Rooms Getting Smaller?

sl-f/iStock via Getty Images
sl-f/iStock via Getty Images

Shower doors are shrinking in posh hotels, and minimalism is to blame, Condé Nast Traveler reports.

In lieu of hanging shower curtains or providing full shower doors, many newer hotels are opting for glass panels that cover only half the length of the shower. That’s frustrating for many travelers, who complain the growing trend is inconvenient and leaves bathroom floors sopping wet and slippery after shower use.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the half-door trend began in European hotels in the 1980s. “A lot of it comes down to people trying to design hotel rooms with limited space,” boutique hotel designer Tom Parker told the magazine. “It’s about the swing of the shower door, because it has to open outward for safety reasons, like [if] someone falls in the shower. You have to figure out where the door swing’s going to go, make sure it’s not [hitting] the main door. It’s just about clearances.” A smaller door also has the added benefit of making the space appear larger than it really is, according to the magazine.

The trend is also connected to the birth of minimalist “lifestyle hotels,” which cater to a younger, hipper clientele that gravitates toward sleek lines and modern design. Plus, half-size glass doors are easier to clean than shower curtains, which tend to trap bacteria and need to regularly be replaced, which can add up to significant additional costs for a hotel.

Theoretically, even half-door showers are designed to minimize water spillage. Designers try to level the floors in bathrooms so water doesn’t pool in random areas, and they place shower heads and knobs in areas that are more protected by glass paneling. And where design doesn’t work, hotels try to pick up the slack.

“Hotels tend to mitigate the risks by offering non-slip interior shower mats, cloth bath mats for stepping out of the shower, grab bars, [and] open showers or no-sill showers which avoid having to step up and over the ledge,” designer Douglas DeBoer, founder and CEO of Rebel Design Group, told Condé Nast Traveler.

But the half-door trend still has yet to gain much love from hotel guests. “The older generation much, much prefers having a shower door,” Parker told Condé Nast Traveler. “I’m like a 70-year-old man at heart anyway. I like [a shower door] if it’s in keeping with the style of the rest of the room.”

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

95 Years of The New Yorker Covers Visualized by Color

Screenshot via C82
Screenshot via C82

On February 21, 1925, The New Yorker appeared on the magazine scene with a cover illustration of a dandy drawn by art editor Rea Irvin, a character later christened Eustace Tilley. Almost a century later, Tilley still graces the cover of The New Yorker at least once a year on the magazine’s anniversary. Other weeks, they commission artists to illustrate timely political topics and evergreen moods.

The magazine has run more than 4600 covers in its 92 years of near-weekly issues (it’s currently published 47 times a year), all of which you can explore by color, thanks to designer Nicholas Rougeux (who has previously visualized sentences and punctuation in classic literature).


Using an algorithm, Rougeux analyzed the top five colors represented in every cover illustration and created a color palette for that issue. Then, he mapped out a palette for every single cover, creating a timeline of New Yorker design. It allows you to see what colors have dominated particular years and decades. If you scroll over the individual palettes, you can see the full image of that week’s cover.


Rougeux found some trends in the colors that have repeatedly graced the magazine’s cover. “Limited and muted palettes were used the 1920s," he writes on his site, while "possibly due to printing limitations, darker greens were more common in the 1940s, lighter palettes were used in the 1970s and 1980s, louder contrasting palettes were popular in the 1990s and more well-rounded palettes started being used since the 2000s.”

You can explore the color timeline for yourself here.

All images courtesy Nicholas Rougeux

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER