I own the original Transmogrifier and have kept it stored away for safe keeping ever since we closed our indoor edutainment business called the Clubhouse for Kids only! RM and I along with our partner family, the Lamberts, opened the business first in Bedford and then a second location in west Fort Worth. We ran both store fronts for about a decade and we hosted many families, over 500,000 visitors, for a day of indoor play, a celebration and themed birthday party or a fun school field trip. We made a lot of kids happy which is a wonderful legacy for us here in the Fort.
My brother, Ed or “the boy genius” as my dad dubbed him early on, was one of our many investors that wanted to be more than just financially supportive but also wanted to use his creativity and inner genius to create an activity for kids visiting our play center. And he just wanted to have fun, like all the kids that came to the Clubhouse. He was the inventor of the Transmogrifier Model 3020 – 15B. All of our many guests nearly wore this Big T out.
Ed’s day job was as an electrical engineer working in the semiconductor industry outside of Boulder, Colorado. After work he fathered and supported the interest and hobbies of his three young sons and tinkered in his garage. For the creation of the transmogrifier, he applied his considerable electrical engineering skills combined with his devotion to science fiction literature and films. He soaked up speculative fiction dealing with imaginative concepts in futuristic settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, time travel, parallel universes and extraterrestrial life. And he applied it to building this machine.
As a kid, Ed was drawn to electricity like most of us lesser intellects were infatuated with our navel. He couldn’t wait until our folks left us unsupervised, so that he could open the main electrical box in the basement and flip some switches just to see what happened. He electrocuted himself frequently but without serious, permanent damage. Usually he just got a good jolt to knock him to his knees. But he learned, through application, the concepts of electrical charge, current, and field and you can see his creativity when you play with all the switches, bells, and buttons on the transmogrifier. Most of the dials and switches he found in old electrical shops or hardware stores around the Boulder area.
The transmogrifier, this week, is in route to Ed’s oldest son, for a much needed cleaning and fine tuning. Many of the old features need adjusting and some rewiring. My brother had a dry wit and he coined many of the attributes of the transmogrifier with names I am sure he drew from sci-fi and his own quirky sense of humor. Titles like:
- Interstellar language translator
- Rotary Motivator
- Hyper Cooler
- Laser Power
- Proximity Alarm
My brother passed away too soon but my sweet memories of him remain as I switch on the transmogrifier and it hums to life. I wish I could remember why he named this model 3020-15B? There has to be a reason, a good back story, for why he chose those numerals and letter. Anybody care to make a guess?
Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.”
– Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl