Stephen Fry has named the cigarette lighter as the greatest ever gadget. The iPad, iPhone and Nintendo Wii join the kettle, karaoke machine and many more gadgets, gizmos and gewgaws in Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Gadgets last night.
National treasure, Blackadder-botherer and Steve Jobs fan Fry believes the cigarette lighter gives us a power that for centuries eluded our ancestors, and pooh-poohs more modern and sophisticated technology: “It’s not the order in which things are invented that makes them the most impressive, it’s the importance they have to humanity. So my number one is this: fire with a flick of the fingers.”
An avowed Apple fan, our centurion of contraptions lists several products from Jobs and co. One of Fry’s faves is another Apple device: a mechanical apple peeler, a device hailed by Fry for its combination of simplicity and complexity; its laughable absurdity that you nonetheless can’t wait to show off to your friends.
The top ten consists of the iPad, the apple peeler, the ballpoint pen, the telephone, the laptop, the typewriter, the television, the iPod, the wristwatch and the humble lighter.