What gadget would you bring on your time-travel trip?

Okay, by whatever supernatural/scientific means you care to contrive, you are about to be sent to the past. You will be sent to a location and period of your choice on Earth within the last 100 years, and will stay there for 24 hours, whereupon you will return to the present day.

You will also be allowed to carry one gadget with you. A “gadget” here is defined as any sort of electrical, mechanical, or other artificially-manufactured thingamaboobit, the size of a breadbox or smaller. You can photograph the natives, blow up a city, dazzle them with thundersticks, whatever.

So, where do you go, what are you bringing with you, and what will you do on your trip?

An ipod, or maybe a gameboy. Hire someone to patent it in my name; then return and phone a lawyer.

Bring a breadbox full of money, invest it with some bank that I know will still exist in 2005 in an account with compound interest, head back to the present, and I’m set for life.

Hmm, if we’re dealing with a fictional universe, i’d take a replicator :wink: that way i’d be able to create other things and still be complying with “bring one future device back”

if we’re dealing with reality, i’d go back to Cupertino in 1983 to meet with The Two Steves, with a Mac 128K and a few choice pieces of Apple hardware (iPod Shuffle, Mini, and Photo, a Mac Mini, 12" PowerBook G4, iMac G4 Flat Panel, and a PowerMac G5), i figure that the smaller devices would have more of a “WOW” factor, after all, most computers in that time period were big, hulking beasts, so another “big” computer in a fancy case wouldn’t have as much impact as one that’s an order of magnitude more powerful (AND in COLOR to boot!) than the best supercomputers of the day, yet can be easily carried around with you

oh, and i’d also tell the Two Steves about a little upstart company called microsoft…

don’t tell 'em anything, don’t let them see anything, do whatever you can to CRUSH them, they want to do the same to you…

since i’d be back in the '80s i’d also try to warn NASA of the Challenger disaster, and warn President Reagan of the assasination attempt, also warn the CIA/NSA/INS/FAA of a little-known terrorist group called “al-qaida” and their leader osama bin-laden, and his attempted terrorist attacks planned in the future, both domestically and abroad…

D’OH! sorry, forgot the “one item” limitation, in that case, i’d take a 12" PowerBook G4 back to the Two Steves (filled with QuickTimes of other Apple stuff of course, as well as the as-yet-unreleased “1984” advert)

the 12" would be the best bet as it’s more powerful than the current hardware at the time, yet is easily transportable

See, now this is not the best way to go. Even with compound interest and a decent interest rate (say 6%), you could turn $1 into $370. Wise investments would get you much further. Leave instructions for hitting all the right stocks at all the right times, you could probably increase your money by a factor of million.

Me, I’d take a velvet elvis.

I would take a camcorder and go back to Jesus’s supposed resurrection.

Film either it happening, or his dead body just lying there and settle this damn question once and for all!

The OP says 100 years, so we can’t do Jesus or my smart ass remark, pennecillin.

I’d take some kind of record to Lincoln and see if he couldn’t talk the Union back together.

:smack: Missed the 100 year part.


I’d take a post-it back to my dad and let him patent it so that I would grow up rich.

It’s just shy of the 100-year limit, but I’d be so tempted to take a PDA or small-size laptop computer and show it to Patent Commissioner Charles H. Duell (the guy who reportedly announced that “everything that can be invented has been invented.”).

Can we make multiple stops within the 24 hour period? If so, I’d take a video camera and record certain historical events, including (but not limited to):

  1. Wright Brothers first flight
  2. Hindenberg explosion
  3. Titanic hitting the iceberg
  4. Bomber hitting the Empire State Building
  5. First A-bomb test

and maybe solve some famous mysteries as well:

  1. Judge Crater - where did he go?
  2. Jimmy Hoffa, too.
  3. Did OJ really do it?
  4. What really happened to Joan Robinson Hill? And did her dad take out a contract on her husband, Dr. John Hill, after the courts failed to convict him?
  5. the Black Dahlia case
    And the lists go on…

I’d go back and try and prevent my own conception. Either the multiple universe theory is correct, and no event can change the outcome of events elsewhere in the timeline, in which case I’ll have proved something very fundamental about the nature of the universe and quite likely be in line for a Nobel prize, or the resultant paradox will wreak havoc by defying the laws of physics, inverting causality and causing all hell to break loose, which while catastrophic, would also be pretty damned cool.

Oh, that’s easy. I’d bring a portable DVD player, with the Tucker: The Man and His Dream DVD in it, and I’d stop by this little machine shop in Ypisilanti, MI in early 1944. :cool:

I just need a notebook. I’ll be heading back to do some genealogy.

These threads always depress me. Reminding me of all the things I don’t know. Sigh.

There’s a scifi story on that theme.
According to tradition, you’d cause him to screw up.

OTOH, I am delighted to learn that you are this guy’s fan instead of the weasel on Fox. :slight_smile:


Leave word with someone before you go so we can check it out, ok?

I’d bring a towel.

to the Marianas trench. in 1960. with a sign that says, “Og was here. Og SMASHED Cthulhu!”

Screw tradition! I show him the movie, tell him to avoid buying the Dodge plant, and that if he’s got any mob connections, he might want to consider having them “explain” a few things to certain people.

id take back an advanced rifle and make millions in military contracts MUAHAHAHAHA