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Gizmos A - Z

Accoson Sphygmomanometer

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

AKG K290 Surround 'Phones

Amerex Alpha One Spycorder

Amstrad NC100 Notepad

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

Audiotronic LSH 80 'Phones

AVO Multiminor

AVO Model 8 Multimeter

Bambino Challenger Radio

Bandai Solar LCD Game

Baygen Freeplay Lantern

Bellwood, Bond Spycorder

Benkson 79 Mini Tape Recorder

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

CDV-717 Survey Meter

CD V-742 Pen Dosimeter

Channel Master 6546

Chinon 722-P Super 8 Cine

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

Craig 212 Tape Recorder

Craig TR-408 tape recorder

Dansette Richmond Radio

Daiya TV-X Junior  Viewer

Dancing Coke Can

Dawe Transistor Stroboflash

Diamond Rio Media Player

Dictograph Desk Phone

Direct Line Phones x2

Dokorder PR-4K Mini Tape

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

GE 3-5805 AM CB Radio

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

H&G Crystal Radio

Hacker Radio Hunter RP38A

Hacker Radio Mini Herald

Hanimex Disc Camera

Harvard Batalion 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

Homey HR-408 Recorder

Horstmann Pluslite Task Lamp

Ianero Polaris Spotlight

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

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

Microphax Case II Fiche

Midland 12-204 Tape Rccorder

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


Widget Of The Week

National Panasonic R-72S Toot-A-Loop Radio, 1972

While we’re waiting for the much-hyped wearable technology revolution to begin – and it seems like a very long time coming – here’s yet another example of some old-school gadgetry that you can use to adorn your body, this time dating from the early seventies. It’s the National Panasonic Toot-A-Loop, a truly weird and vividly coloured AM radio designed to fit around your wrist or carried like a purse. It’s shaped a bit like a donut and the clever part is the rotating hinge, which allows the radio to twist, split and bend, so you can wrap it around your wrist, or get it to stand, snake like, on a flat surface. Yes, it’s completely daft, but for a short time it was quite popular; we were easily amused back then and there wasn’t much else to do in the seventies…


National Panasonic (nowadays just Panasonic) had form with wackily shaped radios and a bizarre ball and chain styled Panapet radio (coming soon), launched in 1970, is an early example. They quickly got into their stride with the Toot-A-Loop, which first appeared in 1972 and this was followed a series of distinctively styled radios, cassette and record players under the ‘Crazy Colour Portables – They even play music’ marketing banner. The unusual shape and bright colours was clearly targeted at the female teenage market, though any teen owning a Toot-A-Loop would either need, or end up developing, fairly strong wrists and elbows; it’s quite a lump to have dangling on your arm. This and most of Panasonic’s other novelty products came with a sheet of decorative stickers and letters, called ‘Crazy Colour Stick-Ons’, so owners could have even more fun customising and personalising their radios. Toot-A-Loops sold in the US and Europe was available in red, white, blue and yellow; in Australia and New Zealand there was a choice of lime and orange and for some inexplicable reason it was known as the ‘Sing-O-Ring’.


It’s fairly basic with Medium Wave only coverage and just two controls, for tuning -- the rotary dial is built into one of the ‘split’ ends, and there’s a volume on/off thumbwheel poking out of the outside edge. To be fair the radio is a competent enough 6-transistor superhetrodyne design. The circuit board is impressively small and very crowded; fixing a faulty one will be no fun whatsoever! On the plus side it has a half decent speaker and it doesn’t sound too terrible, though there’s not a lot to listen to on the Medium Wave these days but if you want to keep it personal there’s a mono 3.5mm jack socket for an earphone or headphones. Power is supplied by two AA cells, which fit into a holder located in one of the two horn-shaped halves, along with the speaker. The circuit board lives in the other horn and a set of connecting cables pass through the middle of the hinge. A limit stop prevents it from turning more than around 200 degrees so there’s no chance of straining the wires. 


This one found its way into my collection via a car boot sale in deepest rural Surrey. The stallholder wasn’t sure if it was working or not, which generally sets alarm bells ringing as AA batteries are not exactly hard to come by. This sometimes suggests that the seller knows it is a goner and may even have tried to fix it themselves but inside it looked clean and unmolested and since he was only asking £5.00 for it (haggled down to £3.50), it wasn’t much of a gamble. The Toot-A-Loop wasn’t on my watch list at the time but I was fairly sure I had seen basket cases selling on ebay for quite a lot more. It turned out there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and had been very well looked after with no cracks or scratches. The only marks were around the coin slot, used to prise apart the case to replace batteries. This wasn’t at all surprising as it’s fiendishly tight. Fortunately it was fairly easy to tidy up using a scalpel and a fine needle file. A quick squirt of contact cleaner took care of the crackly volume control and following a wipe over with a soft cloth and a squirt of furniture polish it was looking, and sounding, like new.


What Happened To It?

Panasonic’s dalliance with trendy and colourful technology turned out to be fairly short lived. By the late 70s it was clear that the brand’s image was being shifted upmarket in order to appeal to more grown up audiences. Cheesy styling and bright colours gave way to more sober designs, and vastly more sophisticated products, prompted by the rapid growth in home audio and video. Even so, it was apparent that there was plenty of mileage left in the teen and young adult markets. Rather than abandon this lucrative sector Panasonic’s parent company, the giant Japanese Matsushita Corporation, took the decision to switch the development and and manufacture of products with a more youthful slant to JVC, another of Matsushita's subsiduaries.


It’s hard to say when production of the Toot-A-Loop came to end but it was probably around 1975/6. Even so, it seems that a lot of them were sold in that relatively short time, or they were just so well made that many escaped the rubbish bin, either way they are sought after and there is usually a dozen or more on ebay most weeks, though the majority are in the US. Prices vary enormously; decent working examples routinely sell for between £15 and £30 in the US (plus at least £20 for shipping); there are fewer of them on this side of the pond and sellers tend to be quite ambitious, with £40 to £60 starting prices. If it comes with the original box, instructions and a super rare intact sticker sheet you can easily double or treble that. Occasional bargains do turn up will escape the attention of collectors if they are inaccurately titled or misspelled, so stay alert, prices will go up.

First seen         1972

Original Price  £7.50

Value Today    £30 - £60 (0716)

Features           AM/Medium wave only receiver (525 – 1605kHz), 6-transistor superhetrodyne, donut shaped hinged/twist 2-part design, 55mm speaker, 3.5mm mono earphone jack,

Power req.                    2 x 1.5v AA cells

Dimensions:                  155 x 70 x 25mm

Weight:                         400g

Made (assembled) in:    Japan

Hen's Teeth (10 rarest):  8




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NOA FM Wireless Intercom

Nokia 9210 Communicator

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Panasonic AG-6124 CCTV VCR

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Satellite AM/FM Radio

Satvrn TDM-1200 Sat Box

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Sinclair FTV1 Pocket TV

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Sinclair Micromatic Radio

Sinclair MTV1A Micovision TV

Sinclair MTV1B Microvision TV

Sinclair PDM-35 Multimeter

Sinclair System 2000 Amp

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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 M-100MC Mic'n Micro

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

Steepletone MBR7 Radio

Stellaphone ST-456 Recorder

Stuzzi 304B Memocorder


Talkboy Tape Recorder

Taylor Barograph

Tasco SE 600 Microscope

Technicolor Portable VCR

Telephone 280 1960

Telex MRB 600 Headset

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

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Vanity Fair Electron Blaster

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VideoPlus+ VP-181 Remote

Vidor Battery Radio

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Vivalith 301 Heart Pacemaker

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Waco Criuser AM Radio

Waco TV Slide Lighter

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