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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

Acoustic Coupler

Aibo ERS-111 Robotic Pet

Aiwa TP-32A Tape Recorder

Aldis Folding Slide Viewer

Airlite 71 Aviation Headset

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

AN/PRC-6 Walkie Talkie

Astatic D-104 Desk Microphone

Apple Macintosh SE FDHD

Avia Electronic Watch

Aitron Wrist Radio

Aiwa TP-60R Tape Recorder

Amstrad CPC 464 Computer

AlphaTantel Prestel

Atari 2600 Video Game

Atari 600XL Home Computer

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Betacom BF1 Pianotel Phone

Binatone Digivox Alarm

Binatone Long Ranger 6 CB

Binatone Mk6 Video Game

Bio Activity Translator

Biri-1 Radiation Monitor

Bowmar LED Digital Watch

Boots CRTV-50 TV,Tape, Radio

Brydex Ever Ready Lighter

BSB Squarial

BT Genie 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

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

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

Concord F20 Sound Camera

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

Eagle T1-206 Intercom

Electrolysis Cell

Electron 52D Spycorder

Electronicraft Project Kit

Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart Radio

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

Fleetwood Globe AM Radio

Franklin LF-390 Guitar Radio

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

GEC Transistomatic

GEC Voltmeter

Giant Light Bulbs

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

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Henica H-138 Radio Lighter

Hitachi MP-EG-1A Camcorder

Hitachi WH-638 Radio

Hitachi VM-C1 Camcorder

HMV 2210 Tape Recorder

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Ingersoll XK505 TV, Radio

International HP-1000 Radio

Internet Radio S-11

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



King Folding Binoculars

Kodak Brownie Starflash

Kodak 56X Instamatic

Kodak 100 Instamatic

Kodak EK2 'The Handle'

Kodak EK160 Instant Camera

Kodak Pony 135

Kvarts DRSB-01 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-88 Dosimeter

Kvarts DRSB-90 Geiger Count

Kyoto S600 8-Track Player

Magnetic Core Memory 4kb

Mattel Intellivision

Maxcom Cordless Phone

McArthur Microscope OU

Memo Call Tape Recorder

Microphax Case II Fiche

Mini Com Walkie Talkies

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

Nagra SN Tape Recorder

National Hyper BII Flashgun

National RQ-115 Recorder

NatWest 24 Hour Cashcard

Nife NC10 Miner's Lamp

Nimslo 3D Camera

NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Novelty AM Radio Piano

Olympia DG 15 S Recorder

Optikon Binocular Magnifier

Oric Atmos Home PC

Panda & Bear Radios

Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

Panasonic RS-600US

Parrot RSR-423 Recorder

Pentax Asahi Spotmatic SLR

Philatector Watermark Detector

PH Ltd Spinthariscope

Philips Electronic Kit

Philips EL3302 Cassette

Philips EL3586 Reel to Reel

Philips PM85 Recorder

Philips P3G8T/00 Radio

Pion TC-601 Tape Recorder

PL802/T Semconductor Valve

Plessey PDRM-82 Dosimeter

Polaroid Land Camera 330

Polaroid Supercolor 635CL

Polaroid Swinger II

Polavision Instant Movie

POM Park-O-Meter

Prinz 110 Auto Camera

Prinz Dual 8 Cine Editor

Psion Organiser II XP

Pye 114BQ Portable Radio

Rabbit Telepoint Phone

RAC Emergency Telephone

Racal Acoustics AFV Headset

Radofin Triton Calculator

Raytheon Raystar 198 GPS

Realistic TRC 209 CB

ReVox A77 Tape Recorder

Roberts R200 MW/LW Radio

Rolling Ball Clock

Ronco Record Vacuum

Sanyo G2001 Music Centre

Sanyo M35 Micro Pack

Satellite AM/FM Radio

Science Fair 65 Project Kit

Seiko EF302 Voicememo

Seiko James Bond TV Watch

Sekiden SAP50 Gun

Shackman Passport Camera

Sharp CT-660 Talking Clock

Shira WT106 Walkie Talkies

Shogun Music Muff

Simpson 389 Ohmmeter

Sinclair Calculator

Sinclair Black Watch

Sinclair FM Radio Watch

Sinclair FTV1 Pocket TV

Sinclair Micro-6 Radio

Sinclair Micromatic Radio

Sinclair MTV1A Micovision TV

Sinclair MTV1B Microvision TV

Sinclair PDM-35 Multimeter

Sinclair System 2000 Amp

Sinclair Super IC-12

Sinclair X1 Burtton Radio

Sinclair Z-1 Micro AM Radio

Sinclair Z-30 Amplifier

Sinclair ZX81

Speak & Spell

Sony Betamovie BMC-200

Sony CFS-S30 'Soundy'

Sony DD-8 Data Discman

Sony CM-H333 Phone

Sony CM-R111 Phone

Sony FD-9DB Pocket TV

Sony MDR3 Headphones

Sony MVC-FD71 Digicam

Sony TC-50 Recorder

Sony TC-55 Recorder

Sony Walkman TPS-L2

Sony Rec Walkman WM-R2

Speedex Hit Spy Camera

Standard Slide Rule

Starlite Pocket Mate Tape

Staticmaster Static Brush

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder


Talkboy Tape Recorder

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

Technicolor Portable VCR

Telephone 280 1960

Thunderbirds AM Can Radio

Tinico Tape Recorder

Tokai TR-45 Tape Recorder

Tomy Electronic Soccer

Toshiba HX-10 MSX Computer

Triumph CTV-8000 5-inch TV

TTC C1001 Multimeter

Uher 400 RM Report Monitor

Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

Vextrex Video Game

VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

View-Master Stereo Viewer

Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

Waco TV Slide Lighter

Wallac Oy RD-5 Geiger Counter

W E Co Folding Phone

White Display Ammeter

Wittner Taktell Metronome


Yamaha Portasound PC-10

Yashica AF Motor 35mm

Yupiteru MVT-8000 Scanner


Widget Of The Week

FVF VTC-200 Video Tape Cleaner, 1985

It is worth checking the title again; note that it says video tape cleaner, not video cleaner tape, and for the benefit of those who never tangled with video cassette recorders (and count yourself lucky…), here’s a brief history lesson. Before DVD, DVRs, Video On Demand, digital downloads, the Internet, and so on, if you wanted to watch a movie, that wasn’t currently being shown on one of the three or four broadcast TV channels you either had to have recorded it, rented or purchased it on video tape, and the chances are it would be on a VHS cassette. VCRs came and went in roughly 25 years, between the late seventies and early noughties and whilst they mostly worked quite well for the first year or so, performance tended to tail off quite quickly after that.


The problem is VCRs are an unholy mixture of temperamental electronics and complex mechanics, with lots of whirry bits to go wrong. Dirt and dust getting into the works could quickly clog the delicate moving parts and dry out lubricants on the deck mechanism. Airborne contaminants would get in through the ventilation slots but the biggest threat was the stuff imported directly into the machine’s innards via tape cassettes, especially if it was on the actual tape, from where it would be smeared all over those delicate moving parts.


At the height of the video boom popular rental tapes could pass through hundreds of grubby hands in just a few weeks. It wasn’t unknown for a cassette to be returned to the rental shop in the morning, coated in a film of sugary drink, tea, coffee, oily finger marks and all manner of damaging substances, only to be rented out again later the same day, still carrying its noxious payload.  When picture quality got really bad VCR owners would often resort to cheap VHS cleaner cassettes, but the results were generally disappointing as by the time you noticed how bad the picture has become the damage had been done.


In fact the only way to make sure the picture quality on a new VCR didn’t deteriorate after a few months was never to feed it with rental tapes, or invest in gadget like the VTC-200. It’s the consumer version of professional videotape cleaners, used by some (a few) of the better video rental shops and it’s pretty obvious what it does. Tape is drawn out of the cassette and passed over a pair of soft fibre brushes, soaked in a cleaning fluid that removes all but the most stubborn grime from the surface of the tape. It is really easy to use; just fill the circular reservoir with cleaning fluid – more on that in a moment – pop a VHS tape onto the capstans (the left one is connected by pulley to a small motor) and lock it in place. Insert a dry washing brush and slide the switch to the On position. When it gets to the end of the tape it switches itself off and the cassette can be removed, rewound and safely used.


The outfit comes with a bottle of cleaning fluid labelled 1. 2. 2. Trifluorethane. It’s not a chemical you come across every day but you may have heard of its by another name, CFC 113. It is one of the notorious chloroflurocarbon family of chemicals, blamed for the damage or ‘hole’ in the Earth’s ozone layer. It was widely used as a refrigerant and it also happens to be a very effective solvent and cleaner; apparently it was also popular telephone sanitizer. Under international treaty CFCs were phased out in the late 1980s but they hang around in the upper atmosphere for decades and a lot of it is still with us. I seriously doubt that the VTC-200 had any measurable part to play in the destruction of the ozone layer but it’s fortunate that the VHS format died out when it did, and – as far as I can make out – few VTC-200s were ever sold.


I found this one in box in a dark and scary corner of my loft. As far as I recall it was sent to me for review, for one of the video magazines that I was involved with back in the 80s and 90s. The selling price is an educated guess but it’s probably not far off; one day I will dig through my pile of old mags to get an accurate figure. For the record it still works, there’s really not much to go wrong with it, and the bottle of cleaning fluid is still half full but rest assured, and for the sake of the planet, the cap is on tight!


What Happened To It?

I cannot say for certain how many VTC-200s were made or when it finally disappeared from the shelves but it’s not the sort of accessory that would have sold well, or hung around for very long. In fact I would be surprised if it lasted much into the 1990s as by that time VCR owners had become accustomed to the steady drop in picture quality. Budget and mid range models tumbled in price and it was often cheaper to replace an ailing machine, rather than splash out on maintenance, repairs or accessories. It’s a pity because if accessories like this had been more widely adopted by rental shops and home users a great many VCRs would have survived into retirement age. I doubt that many VCT-200s lived to tell the tale; I have never seen another one, though sadly that doesn’t make it valuable and I’m am probably being optimistic with my £10.00 valuation. There is no denying it has curiosity value, though, and it serves to remind us of a time when a clumsy, slack-jawed, sticky-fingered idiot could really ruin your Saturday night viewing. 


First seen               1985

Original Price         £30.00

Value Today           £10.00 (0515)

Features                 VHS format, manual tape unlace and threading, pulley driven tale-up reel capstan, auto power off, LED indicators, cleaning fluid reservoir, removable cleaning brushes

Power req.                   220VAC

Dimensions:                  22 x 22 x 70mm

Weight:                         1kg

Made (assembled) in:    Germany?

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  6




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