The Clapper

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The Clapper with a lamp plugged in at bottom

The Clapper is a sound-activated electrical switch,[1] sold since 1984 by San Francisco, California based Joseph Enterprises, Inc. Robert E. Clapper, Sr., and Richard J. Pirong marketed the clapper with the slogan "Clap On! Clap Off! The Clapper!".[2]

The Clapper plugs into a U.S.-type electrical outlet, and allows control of up to two devices plugged into the Clapper.[3] An upgraded model, known as the Clapper Plus, includes a remote control function in addition to the original sound-based activation.[4]

Although meant to activate by clapping, The Clapper can inadvertently be triggered by other noises,[5] such as coughing, a dog barking, a cabinet or door being closed, laughter, yelling, banging, intercourse, knocking on a door or a wall, other sharp sounds, or noises from televisions and speakers.


The Clapper was invented by Carlile R. Stevens and Dale E. Reamer, and issued U.S. Patent #5493618, which was published on 20 February 1996.[6]


  1. ^ "A tale of useless toys". The Free Lance-Star. January 10, 2003. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  2. ^ Harry, Lou; Stall, Sam (2002). "The Clapper". As Seen on TV: 50 Amazing Products and the Commercials that Made Them Famous. California: Chronicle Books. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-1-931686-09-9.
  3. ^ "The Clapper: Does It Work?". KCBD News. December 25, 2002. Archived from the original on February 24, 2003. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  4. ^ Lam, Brian (August 30, 2010). "The 21st Century Clapper". Gizmodo. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  5. ^ "The Clapper: "Does It Work?"". KTRE News. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  6. ^ "Method and apparatus for activating switches in response to different acoustic signals". Retrieved 2 November 2017.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

External video
video icon "Clap On! Clap Off! The Clapper". ABC News. July 16, 2009.