Did I Really Want One of Those? 1. The Buttoneer

Ronco’s handy tool for fixing burst buttons the quick way

It’s Christmas Day! You’ve been over to your Gran’s for Christmas Dinner. Her roasties were mamma from Heaven and the turkey was carved to perfection. Then you enjoyed the plum pudding, guzzled a bottle of wine between you and your loved one. Later, she puts G.O.L.D. on her Sky+ box and you laugh ravenously to Only Fools and Horses reruns – even if you’ve seen the episode where Delboy falls through the bar three dozen times. 

Then, just as Delboy falls through the bar, you roar with laughter. Something else is seen flying in the distance. You leave your seat and something embarrassing happens.

She notices your novelty boxer shorts. Oh, cack, the button flew off your pants!

Luckily, your Grandma’s 1973 vintage Rover tin has a Ron Popeil creation. She finds another button in her sewing kit, similar to the one on your trousers. It fits. She places the Buttoneer onto the part of your pants where the button flew off. Job done!

The Buttoneer

Ronco’s Buttoneer was a must for people who couldn’t sew buttons, nor couldn’t be bothered with sewing buttons at all. Manufactured by Dennison, it was distributed worldwide by Ronco Teleproducts and along with its more functional uses included the ability to add sequins in a jiffy.

Looking like a cross between a gas powered soldering iron and a rug kit needle, It came with refillable fasteners, mimicking good old fashioned thread. It was also marketed as an accessory for livening up otherwise tired garments. This was demonstrated with 1980s adverts showing a Punky Brewster lookalike wearing more buttons than is considered healthy on a pair of dungarees.

Plus it could repair seams, zips and apply applique effects. It still available today from your favourite tax dodging online retailer and countless shopping channels. Original Ronco distributed/Dennison models from the 1960s and 1970s are available for about a tenner second hand.

*                                *                                *

Original Version (1977 price): $4.95.

Present Version (2013 price from Create and Craft): £19.99.

S.V., 01 December 2013.

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