TV Cream

Bric-a-Brac: R is for...


Ronco was, first and foremost, an all-American empire of tat purveying bottle cutters and Veg-O-Matics to the honest folk of Poughkeepsie – and easy material for Atlantic City supper club stand-ups. But the British wing of Ron Popeil’s mighty Christmas gift manufacturing concern made us chop-eating islanders feel right at home with bits of fireproof tinsel, the forthright tones of Tommy Vance on announcing duties, and an especially dreary range of gadgetry. Seemingly based around a job lot of electric motors the Ronco boys had somehow ‘acquired’, the early ’80s range of variations on a spinny theme were an object lesson in inventing markets to suit your materials. How did we ever put up with the onerous task of whisking eggs in a bowl before the Ronco Egg Scrambler – an electric motor attached to an off-centre pin – did them for us inside the shell? Similarly, those long, arduous years of occasionally giving dusty stuff a bit of a wipe with a rag were gone forever when you purchased the comically specific and suspiciously similar Ronco Record Cleaner and Ronco Spark Plug Cleaner – as far as records and spark plugs were concerned, at least. Those with chronically weak wrists and piles of spare cash in indivisible units of £2.99 were sold. The rest of us hoped that square present from a distant relative was a box of Matchmakers and nothing more, er, ‘practical’.



  1. Peter Lee

    August 9, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    We still have – and regularly use – a Ronco Battery Tester.

  2. Lee James Turnock

    May 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Ronco’s A Christmas Present album, with its gatefold sleeve, was a joy to behold, and quite nice to listen to, at least it was when I was a nipper.

  3. Richard Davies

    August 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    A lot of devices like Ronco’s are now sold thorugh those office book clubs who leave a pile of random products & an order form, & come back in a week or 2 to collect them & hand out any orders.

  4. Tom Ronson

    March 31, 2022 at 5:37 pm

    I remember Kenny Lynch spieling for some Ronco tat circa Christmas 1983 with an obvious lack of enthusiasm.

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