Gizmos by Category

Cameras & Optical

Clocks Watches Calcs

Computers & Games

Miscellaneous & Oddities

Phones & Comms

Radio, Audio, Video & TV

Tape Recorders & Players

Test & Scientific Instruments


Psst...looking for cheap 

nuclear stuff?

Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

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

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 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

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

Optikon Binocular Magnifier

Oric Atmos Home PC

Panda & Bear Radios

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

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

Kodak Pony 135 Model C, 1958

You may be wondering what this rather ordinary-looking 1950’s 35mm film camera is doing here. It is not an especially interesting or unusual design and there are no obvious features that warrant more than a passing mention. It wasn’t ahead of its time in any particular respect and as far as I am aware the pictures it took were not that different in quality to those shot on scores of similarly specified models from the same era, but there is one thing that sets it apart, certainly from most other still cameras, and that’s the lens. This camera is fitted with a 3-element Kodak Anaston lens with a focal length of 44mm; so far so ordinary, but the key point is that it is made using Thoriated glass, which means that it is mildly radioactive. In fact it is actually quite ‘lively’ and the alpha, beta and gamma radioactivity it emits is easily detected, even by modestly specified radiation monitoring instruments, but more on that in a moment.


Kodak’s Pony range was mainly aimed at amateur photographers; it’s an intermediate model, sitting between basic point and shoot cameras, like the classic Kodak ‘Brownies’, and more advanced and capable pro and semi-pro designs. The first Pony’s appeared in the late 1940s but this one, the Model C dates from the mid to late 50s. It’s a tough little camera, with a brown Bakelite body, good quality mechanics and optics. It uses 135 film cassettes, which was the Kodak designation for 35mm film; this is loaded into a compartment on the rear of the camera and manually threaded onto a take-up reel. The film is advanced, one frame at a time by turning the large knob on the right side of the top panel (looking at it from the rear), and when the roll has been exposed, it is wound back into the cartridge by the big knob on the left.


There are no fancy-schmancy meters or automatic controls, just a decent assortment of manual exposure options. The flash synchronised shutter is manually cocked and the speed can be adjusted between 1/25th and 1/300th of a second in 4 steps. There is also a ‘B’ or Bulb setting, where the shutter stays open for as long as the shutter button is pressed. (Bulb is a reference to the early days of photography when camera shutters were operated pneumatically, by pressing a rubber bulb). The iris or aperture range is from f/3.5 to f/22, in 7 steps, and to make things really easy it can be set by the numbers, or according to the conditions (Bright, Hazy, Cloudy, Cloudy-Bright), calibrated for Kodak’s black and white (Ektachrome) and colour (Kodachrome) films. The focussing ring on the front of the lens barrel is calibrated for distances of between 25 feet to infinity. The shutter’s manual cocking lever is on the side of the lens barrel and just below that there’s a bayonet connector for a flashgun.


Back now to that scary-sounding lens, and the reason it is radioactive is simple.  Mixing glass with the radioactive element Thorium (actually Thorium Oxide), up to 30 percent by weight, does several useful things, including increasing the glass’s refractive index. This means that lenses can be made thinner (which also helps reduces the cost). It also reduces chromatic aberrations in the glass, which causes objects to have coloured fringes, due to differences in the way glass focuses different colours. Over the years other radioactive elements have also been used in lenses, including Lanthanum, but it is not as cheap, effective (or radioactive).


In its pure state Thorium is only weakly radioactive and emits mostly Alpha particles, and on the scale of nastiness this is considered the least harmful type, outside of the body at any rate. Alpha radiation has very little penetrating power – particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper and do not pass through skin – so on the face of it, its inclusion in glass lenses doesn’t seem especially controversial. However, as Thorium decays it creates Beta and Gamma radiation (weirdly, the production of decay products means that the radioactivity increases over time, which is the opposite of what you would expect). Beta and Gamma has more penetrating power than Alpha radiation and it can cause problems, especially when there’s enough of it, in close proximity to living tissue. Fortunately the amounts of radioactivity given off by these and similar lenses is not generally regarded as hazardous, under normal circumstances and with normal use. However, radiation is tricky and highly contentious stuff so play safe and on no account put a bag full of Thorium-doped lenses in your trouser pockets…  Joking aside, if this is something you are concerned about the clever thing to do is read up on the subject, and if you want to check if the cameras in your collection, or plan on buying, have radioactive lenses do your homework – there is plenty of information online -- and it could be worth your while getting hold of a Geiger Counter (sorry for the shameless plug).


My little Pony came from ebay a good few years ago and as far as I recall it cost a couple of pounds. It is still in great condition and I have no doubts that it is still capable of taking photographs. I actually sought this model out, as a radioactive test source, after acquiring one of my first Geiger Counters. It proved to be very effective, though it needs to be in close physical contact with most instruments to get any sort of reading, and it doesn’t register anything when held a few centimetres away. 


What Happened To It?

Kodak’s Pony series ran from 1949 to around 1962 and throughout that period most models were fitted with either an Anaston or the higher quality 4-element Anastar lenses, and almost all of them used Thoriated glass. By the time it was being phased out Kodak had introduced the first of its pioneering Instamatic cameras, which at the time was arguably one of the biggest advances in photography for 50 years. Kodak obviously didn’t abandon the 35mm format but it gradually evolved into a serious amateur and semi pro format, with Instamatic and Instant cameras rapidly taking over the mass market. It is not known how many Pony cameras were made but you can take it as read that it was a heluva lot. They are really well made, and usually come with a protective leather case so there are still plenty of them around. They’re flea market and car boot sale regulars and because they look so ordinary, tend not to attract much attention and typically sell anywhere from 50 pence to £5.00, sometimes more if they’re in tip-top condition, boxed and come with instructions. Pony cameras are not yet serious collectibles but inevitably prices will only increase so now is as good a time as any to add one to your collection and whilst it is not much to look at, it does have an interesting story to tell. By the way, although there are no significant health hazards associated with this and other cameras with radioactive lenses if you have one then it is prudent not to let children play with it and it’s a good idea to store it safely, preferably in a metal box. 


First seen            1955

Original Price      £22 ($34)

Value Today        £10 (0315)

Features              35mm format, Thorium doped Kodak Anaston lens: 44mm, shutter: B, 1/25, 1/50, 1/100, 1/300th sec, aperture: f/3.5, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, presets Ektachrome/Kodachrome Bright/Hazy/Cloudy/Cloudy Bright, shutter sync, optical viewfinder, film advance interlock (to prevent double exposures)

Power req.                      n/a

Dimensions:                    140x 65 x 85mm

Weight:                            510g

Made (assembled) in:      Rochester, USA

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):    5




Dusty Navigation

About Dustygizmos

Crystal Radios

Transistor Radios

Mini Tape Recorders


Sinclair TVs


Tape Recorder Gallery

A - C    D- M     N - Z











All information on this  web  site  is provided as is without warranty of any kind. Neither nor its employees nor contributors are responsible for any loss, injury, or damage, direct or consequential, resulting from your choosing to use any of the information contained  herein.

Copyright (c) 2006 - 2015



counter statistics