Jason and the Argos Gnomes (Part One): The Sparklets Beer Tap

Or, is my wife on Marstons?

1973, as detailed in a previous East of the M60 entry, was the year when Argos began. Its first branch was on Sturry Road, Canterbury. What better way to start the first of our 24 windows with a drink. Not, alas, a pint of Pedigree, but something associated with seventies Britain as much as the Three Day Working Weeks, Abigail’s Party and ABBA.

With the music centre set to three-quarters volume and my favourite Demis Rousso album, stand by for…

The Sparklets Beer Tap

In a era before widgets and mini kegs, canned beer meant a hulking great Watneys Party Four or Watneys Party Seven. Shared among four or seven drinkers of course. In The North, we also had the Bodkan which was like a Party Four, though with Boddington’s Bitter instead.

The Sparklets Beertap was designed to fit 4 and 7 pint cans. S/he would place the device along the diameter of the can. At the end was the tap where drinkers could lean the pump forward (like a keg lager tap). Within moments, your favourite Party Four or Seven into a glass of your choice. According to the blurb, the tap could keep your Party Four or Party Seven fresh for up to four weeks!

How did your favourite beer keep its freshness for that period of time? Simple: the device had a little gas cylinder which turned your Party Seven into a mini keg.

Sparklets produced many a soda syphon with products made in the USA as Sparklets, or in the UK by the British Oxygen Company.

  • Argos Catalogue edition: Number One (1973);
  • Page and item numbers: page 58, item 9;
  • 1973 Prices: £2.39 (£2.99, RRP);
  • 2014 Prices: £27.55 (£34.55 RRP);
  • 2014 eBay price: £10.00 (nearly new, checked on 29 November 2014).

S.V., 01 December 2014.

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