Ronco is still going today, but its heyday was unquestionably the 1970s, when it churned out a seemingly never-ending range of unnecessary and frankly pointless “time-saving” gadgets.
Its initial range of products included Chop-o-matic, Dial-o-matic and the Veg-o-matic – all gadgets for slicing and dicing food. As the company grew it added more and more odd and obscure products to its range . . .
There was the Miracle Brush, the Glass Froster, the Smokeless Ashtray, the In-Egg Scrambler, the Record Cleaner and the Bottle & Jar Cutter (a guillotine designed to turn old bottles into attractive, cheap, razor-sharp vases).
Two of the most remembered products from the 70s are the legendary Buttoneer (pictured at right) and the Trim-Comb Hair Groomer.
The former was essentially a stapler for buttons! When a button fell off, you used this device to re-attach it with a plastic stapler. The point was to say goodbye to all that tedious button-sewing and save yourself time and effort . . .
The latter was a plastic comb with a razor blade inside it. You (or your parents) combed it through your hair and the device gave you a smart trim, thereby saving a few pence on a proper haircut by a qualified barber or hairdresser.
At least that was the theory . . .
In later years, Ronco launched GLH (Great Looking Hair) – a spray-on toupee (!) designed to cover up any bald spots.