Did I Really Want One of Those? 5. Ronco’s Record Vacuum

It sucks. Literally.

29th December 2013: Spent the best part of last week tidying up the loft. Found a strange brown contraption next to a little used Scalextric set, a few paintings, and about forty-five editions of Go Go County next a City programme signed by Paul Power, Alex Williams and Tommy Caton.

Thank goodness Sunday’s a day of rest. At least for another day you wouldn’t have your colleagues ridiculing the ‘haircut’ from your run-in with the Hair Magician. Your left arm is still tender from your accident with the mobility scooter.

You ask your partner as to what this gloriously seventies device is, and you are met with a blank look. Then you ask your children: they didn’t know. Then you search for ‘Ronco records’ on your favourite search engine. One of the thumbnail images includes the artefact which eluded you.

The Ronco Record Vacuum

In the UK, rock broadcasting legend Tommy Vance voiced its adverts. It was claimed that the Record Vacuum would clean all the dust off your LPs, singles and 78s. In the same way an anti static cloth would, Record Vacuum would also eliminate electrostatic build up.

Across the pond, our salesperson would be seen in a record shop, harping on about how expensive records are. On stating this chunk of doggerel, he entices viewers to purchase one or two of these battery operated cleaners.

For some users the reality was much different. Instead of saving your records as the adverts claimed, Record Vacuum actually ruined them. It was a cheaper version of more expensive devices which retail for between £300 – £500, aimed at professional users. It also attracted imitators such as the Rec-o-vac.

*                                *                                *

1976 price: £5.99.

2013 price: £35.01 (secondhand from eBay, checked 11 November 2013).

S.V., 05 December 2013.

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