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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acos SLM3 Sound Level Meter

Acoustic Coupler

Advance PP5 Stabilised PSU

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa LX-110 Linear Turntable

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Alcatel Minitel 1 Videotex

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Alpha-Tek Pocket Radio

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

Amstrad em@iler

Amstrad NC100 Notepad

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

Avia Electronic Watch

Avid Pneumatic Headphones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Barlow Wadley XCR-30 Radio

B&O Beocom 2000 Phone

Baygen Freeplay Lantern

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Benkson 79 Mini Tape Recorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Betacom CP/6 Ferrari Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Binatone Worldstar Radio

Binotone Radio Binoculars

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bolex Paillard 155 Cine Camera

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie Phone

BT Linesmans Phone 282A

BT Rhapsody Leather Phone

Cambridge Z88 Computer

Candlestick Telephone

Canon Ion RC-260 Camera

Cartex TX-160 Multiband Radio

Casio VL-Tone Keyboard

CD V-700 Geiger Counter

CD V-715 Survey Meter

CDV-717 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Central C-7980EN Multimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 ciné

Citizen Soundwich Radio Watch

Citizen ST555 Pocket TV

Clairtone Mini Hi Fi Radio

CocaCola Keychain Camera

Coke Bottle AM Radio

Commodore 64 Home PC

Commodore PET 2001-N

Computer Novelty AM/FM Radio

Compact Marine SX-25

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Coomber 2241-7 CD Cassette

Contamination Meter No.1

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

C-Scope ProMet II Detector

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Dawe Transistor Stroboflash

Decca RP 205 Record Player

Decimo Vatman 120D Calc

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Direct Line Phones x2

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

DP-66M Geiger Counter

Duvidal FT-66 Tape Recorder

Eagle Ti.206 Intercom

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Eagle International Loudhailer

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

EMS Stammering Oscillator

Ericsson Ericofon Cobra Phone

Etalon Luxor Light Meter

Euromarine Radiofix Mk 5

Exactus Mini Add Calculator

Fairylight Morse Set

FEP Microphone & Earphone

Ferguson FC08 Camcorder

Ferguson FHSC 1 Door Cam

Fi-Cord 101 Tape Recorder

Fi-Cord 202 Tape Recorder

Fidelity HF42 Record Player

Fisher-Price 826 Cassette

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

Gaertner Pioneer Geiger Counter

Garmin GPS III Pilot Satnav

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GE 3-5908 Help CB Radio

GEC C11B2 Electricity Meter

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

General Radiological NE 029-02

Giant Light Bulbs

Giant Watch-Shaped  Radio

Gowlland Auriscope

GPO Headset No. 1

GPO Keysender No 5

GPO RAF Microphone No. 3

GPO Telephone Series 300

GPO Telephone Type 746

GPO 12B/1 Test Meter

GPO Trimphone

GPO Ring Microphone No 2

Gramdeck Tape Recorder

Grandstand Video Console

Grundig EN3 Dictation

Grundig Memorette

Grundig TK-141 Tape Recorder

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion Radio

Heathkit GR-70 Multiband Radio

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hero HP-101 Intercom

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homer KT-505 Phone Amplifier

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Horstmann Pluslite Task Lamp

Ianero Polaris Spotlight

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

ITT KB Super AM/FM Radio

Ivalek De Luxe Crystal Radio

James Bond TV Watch

Jasa AM Wristwatch Radio

Juliette LT-44 Tape Recorder

Jupiter FC60 Radio

JVC GR-C1 Camcorder

JVC GX-N7E Video Camera

JVC HR-C3 VHS-C VCR

JVC HR-3300 VHS VCR

King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak Disc 6000

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Koss ESP-6 Headphones

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

La Pavoni Espresso Machine

Macarthys Surgical AM Radio

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Maplin YU-13 Video Stabilizer

Marlboro Giant  AM Radio

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Micronta 22-195A Multimeter

Micronta 3001 Metal Detector

Micronta S-100 Signal Injector

Microphax Case II Fiche

Midland 12-204 Tape Rccorder

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

Mini Instruments 5.40 Geiger

Minifon Attaché Tape Recorder

Minolta 10P 16mm Camera

Minolta-16 II Sub Min Camera

Minolta XG-SE 35mm SLR

Minolta Weathermatic-A

Minox B Spy Camera

Mohawk Chief Tape Recorder

Motorola 5000X Bag Phone

Motorola 8500X ‘Brick’

Motorola Micro TAC Classic

MPMan MP-F20 MP3 Player

Music Man Talking Radio

Mystery Microphone

 

  

Widget Of The Week

Brolac Camera In A Can, 1980?

Over the years all sorts of weird and wonderful things have ended up inside cans, knickers and fresh air spring immediately to mind, so why not a camera? Needless to say it has been done to death. This one is a promotional gimmick and you can substitute paint-maker Brolac for dozens of other brand names. Some of them were and still are really famous, like Coca Cola, Duracell and Pepsi, to name just a few, but there were plenty of others that you won’t have heard of. Clearly having your logo plastered all over a plastic ‘tin can’ camera wasn’t a guarantee of success.

 

Inside this one, which dates from the early 1980s, there’s a barebones 110 cartridge camera and in common with almost all cheap cameras of this type it really does take pictures. However, the plastic lens and lack of any sort of exposure controls meant that they would mostly be pretty awful, but to be fair that’s really not the point of give-aways and freebies. To take a photo with your Camera In A Can all you had to do was slide a little lever on the back to open the loading door, pop in a film cartridge, shut the door, advance the film to the first frame using the thumbwheel on the front, and, using the simple optical viewfinder and shutter button on the top, point and shoot. Once the film had been used up you took out the cartridge and had it processed. This would take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and usually cost somewhere between £2.00 and £5.00.

 

Once you got the prints back you could expect to be fairly disappointed with the results and the camera would either go straight into the bin or end up in the back of a drawer, gathering dust. One way or another the result was usually the same and those that didn’t get binned straight away would find their way into landfill, usually following a clearout. That’s what make these otherwise undistinguished little cameras potentially interesting to collectors. They have two things going for them; some sort of personal interest or attachment to the brand name printed on the outside and the simple fact that out of the tens, if not hundreds of thousands that were made, only a relatively small number have survived.

 

Surprisingly the housing on this model is quite well made, though the camera mechanism inside is almost entirely made of plastic, and probably wouldn’t last for more than a few outings. I found it at a car boot sale some time ago and because of its unusual size and shape, and seeing the thumbwheel, I thought for a moment that it was novelty radio. The weird thing was the young stallholder reckoned it was some sort of cigarette lighter; he even claimed that it worked; it just needed a new battery. I politely explained that it was actually a camera and it used 110 film cartridges, which needed processing at the chemist. His eyes glazed over at that point and his clear lack of interest in this sort of archaic image recording technology may even have contributed to a near instant price drop, from a pound to 50 pee. I left with what I considered to be a bargain, and an uncomfortable feeling of being really old…

 

After a quick clean up it turned out to be in near mint condition and the fact that it is still with us, and in good working order suggests that it hadn’t seen active service or more than a small handful of cartridges in the last 30 plus years.

 

What Happened To It?

Putting a camera inside a tin can is a surprisingly old idea. One of the earliest examples I have been able to find is the US made Teddy Camera from 1924, which was housed in a small tin box. It may even have inspired Edwin Land, the guy who invented the Polaroid ‘Instant’ camera, as it came with its own developing tank. This fitted on to the back of the camera and processed a print while you waited

 

This particular Camera In A Can is a more recent development (no pun intended) and was made by a Taiwanese company called Eiko. It dates from 1980, give or take a year or two, as sources on the web list this model as being in production from 1977 to 1983. The background to the now obsolete film it uses is that from the early 1960s onwards Kodak got into the habit of launching a new cartridge format every 10 years or so. It was an ingenious and hugely profitable marketing ploy, but one that mostly benefited the film making and processing industries, rather than the camera-buying public. Anyway, the 110 format first appeared in 1972 but it took a few years before manufacturers in the Far East drove down the costs, making cameras cheap enough to give away. This was towards the end of the 110 format’s life as in 1982 Kodak were at it again with the Disc Film format, but that’s another story.

 

Novelty cameras in cans continued to be produced throughout the photographic film era. A Hong Kong manufacturer, called Ginfax were particularly prolific in the 80s and 90s with a more up market promotional model. This used 35mm film and had a built-in electronic flash. More recently the story has taken on a bizarre twist. If you google ‘camera in a can’ you will find scores of websites showing you how to fabricate simple (and some not so simple) film and digital cameras out of soft drinks cans.

 

Although the Eiko model isn’t common prices tend to be quite modest and you should be able to find one or two selling on ebay for less than £10.00. You might think that examples with obscure or long departed company names would be worth more, as they will be that much rarer, but this seems to have little or no bearing on value. The fact that it is now difficult and expensive to obtain, let alone process 110 format film doesn’t help either. However I see that as an opportunity for collectors on a budget and by rights a complete set of Eiko cameras could be worth a tidy sum one day, but please don’t quote me on that….


GIZMO GUIDE

First seen:                         1980 (Instructions)

Original Price:                   n/a (usually free)

Value Today:                     £5 (0917)

Features:                           Fixed focus, & aperture 22mm F11 lens, single speed shutter (1/100th sec), 110 format film cartridge, 100 ASA, optical viewfinder, mechanical film advance, wrist lanyard

Power req.                       n/a

Dimensions:                     132 x 55mm

Weight:                            100g

Made (assembled) in:       Taiwan

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):     7



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