Tuesday, 20 January 2015

SWEENY TODD NEVER HAD A LOOK IN...




Remember these things?  They're two different examples
of the same idea - hair trimmers!  Not for beards so much, but
for cutting hair, in the mistaken belief that cost-conscious parents 
could save a few shillings when these items first came out.  Talking
of which, can anyone remember exactly when that was?  I seem to
recall it being in the very early 1970s when I lived in a different
house, but sometimes I wonder if it could've been a year or
two later than that (or perhaps even before).

These things were devastatingly lethal - my father only
had to approach me from the other side of the room, waving it
in my general direction, for my hair to be sheared from my head as
if a scythe had been swung.  Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but
it's not too far removed from the truth, as any poor soul who ever
had to suffer the application of these plastic torture devices
will readily testify.  (Show us your scars.)

Anyone remember what they were called or who they
were made by?  (Ronco, perhaps?)  Or do you have any child-
hood tales of getting slagged by your classmates upon arrival at
school when they clapped eyes on your dad's feeble attempts
at a home-made haircut?  Do feel free to share!

15 comments:

Jeff Austin said...

The ones I grew up being sheared with [going as far back as the late 60's] was generally a Wahl brand trimmer. After my Father nicked my ear around 3 years old, I wouldn't let him touch me with it, and my age of longer hair began. Ironically, I've grown accustomed to shearing my head again in my middle age. The Wahl trimmer is still a part of my life...and they make so many versions...!

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Oh that was a blast from the past Kid these things were as much a part of the 70s (although I think they came out in the 60s) as flares and glitter – as you say they were lethal - I remember my dad getting this for the family to save money, but inevitably we ended up either with razor cuts in our hair, having one side of the hair noticeably thinner than the other or simply taking it to far and ending up with a near bald patch and having to go to the barber (no hairdressers for boys in those days). I remember the one you have on this blog but they also had a more lethal version that was in the shape of a comb, ot was more lethal as you could pick it up in error to comb your hair thinking it was a normal comb and cut a big chuncks out of your hair (and yes I did that a few times).

The one I recall was the “Ronco Hair trimmer” made by Sabo (see link below to a picture) or in the case of K-Tel (see US advert link on You Tube below) the “Hair magician” there was also the Hairwiz and Trimcomb etc but Boots etc had their own brands.

Ronco Hair trimmer picture):
http://yesteryearremembered.com/?p=3928
Ktel Hair Magician (YouTube advert):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p44Ig0ktXQM


Colin Jones said...

Kid, I don't need to remember hair trimmers as I own two right now - both are from 'Nicky Clarke' and one is powered by a rechargeable battery and the other by the mains. I cut my own hair with the mains one and keep the other one as a back-up. It's extremely easy to do and you can't go wrong as there's a plastic thingy you attach to the trimmer that cuts hair to a certain length. As for saving "a few shillings" - I must have saved a fortune over the years as I've owned these trimmers for about 16 years at least, I wouldn't be without them. Look at my avatar photo (taken last August) to see how neatly they cut my hair :)

Kid said...

I'd imagine today's versions are more sophisticated items. These old ones were only razor blades between a rwo-sided comb. How they were ever approved is beyond me. Incidentally, Jeff, I've added your Blog to the list on my home page.

******

Thanks for those links, McScotty, I'll be checking them out. It may well have been the late '60s when my father first acquired the one in the first pic I've shown - I'm just not 100% sure. He must have eventually misplaced it (or perhaps me and my brother hid it), because he picked up the second one for his own use quite a few years later. The ones in the pics are the original items, which I've still got.

Kid said...

I've got a modern hair trimmer myself, CJ, but I can never seem to get the hair on the nape of my neck right. I suppose I let it grow too long, whereas, If I cut my hair regularly, I wouldn't have that problem.

Colin Jones said...

Ah, you've hit on the one drawback, Kid - I have to trim the back of my neck with a bic razor using two mirrors but that's not a problem. The thought of ever going to a barber again makes me shudder.

Kid said...

My local barber only charges a fiver for a gent's haircut, and as I have to get them to fix the back of my neck whenever I cut my own hair, I'm as well leaving out the middle-man (me).

John Pitt said...

I have had two different ones used on me, the top one, bought in response to an ad in the paper to "SAVE £££££££££££'s on haircutting with this........" and the comb one mentioned by McScotty, both of which left you looking like you'd just had an argument with a Flymo!!
So, like Col, I have used an electric Wahl now for donkey's years. It has paid for itself many, many times over.

Kid said...

Betcha you don't have as much hair as me 'though, JP - so you've got less to cut.

John Pitt said...

Why do you think I now need that plastic Beatles wig? The trouble is I've got so many brain cells in there, there's not enough room for follicles!!

Kid said...

Heard it.

baab said...

The comb version.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaagggghhh!!!!!!

I'm bald now so a quick number one with the wahl and I am done.

Kid said...

Better than a comb-over, eh?

baab said...

There is a hairstyle that is popular with the kids right now and it s called 'the comb-over'.
One of my kids asked if he could get his cut in this style.
Oh my.
What a wonderful planet we live on.

Kid said...

The comb-over - popular? Who'da thunk it?!

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