Inventor Samuel Popeil

February 10, 2012 by staff 

Inventor Samuel Popeil, Ronald M. Popeil (born May 3, 1935 in New York City; ) is an American inventor and marketing personality, best known for his direct response marketing company Ronco. He is well known for his appearances in infomercials for the Showtime Rotisserie (“Set it, and forget it!”) and for using the phrase, “But wait, there’s more!” on television as early as the mid-1950s.

Popeil learned his trade from his father, Samuel, who was also an inventor and carny salesman of kitchen-related gadgets such as the Chop-O-Matic and the Veg-O-Matic. The Chop-O-Matic retailed for US$3.98 and sold over two million units. The invention of the Chop-O-Matic caused a problem that marked the entrance of Ron Popeil into television.

It turned out that the Chop-O-Matic was so efficient at chopping vegetables, that it was impractical for salesmen to carry the vegetables they needed to chop. The solution was to tape the demonstration. Once the demonstration was taped, it was a short step to broadcasting the demonstration as a commercial.

Some of his better-known products, and their original sale pitches, include:

Chop-O-Matic hand food processor. “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to show you the greatest kitchen appliance ever made … All your onions chopped to perfection without shedding a single tear.”

Dial-O-Matic, successor to the Veg-O-Matic (and very similar to a mandolin slicer). “Slice a tomato so thin it only has one side.”

Popeil Pocket Fisherman. “The biggest fishing invention since the hook … and still only $19.95!” (According to the program Biography, the original product was the invention of Popeil’s father and only marketed by Ronco, but as of 2006, Popeil had introduced a redesigned version of the product.)

Mr. Microphone: a short-range hand-held radio transmitter that broadcast over FM radios. A convertible rolls up to a curb and an enthusiastic young man shouts out “Hey, good looking, I’ll be back to pick you up later!” followed by the pitch “Broadcast your voice on any FM radio!!!”

Inside-The-Shell Egg Scrambler. “Gets rid of those slimy egg whites in your scrambled eggs.” Popeil has said the inspiration for this product was his lifelong revulsion toward incompletely blended scrambled eggs.

Six Star 20-Piece Cutlery Set

Showtime Rotisserie, a small rotisserie oven designed for cooking smaller sized portions of meat such as whole chicken and lamb. “Set it, and forget it!”

Solid Flavor Injector. This product accompanied the Showtime Rotisserie and was used to inject solid ingredients into meat or other foods. A similar product, called the Liquid Flavor Injector, allowed for the injecting of liquid ingredients into meat, e.g., lime juice into chicken.

GLH-9 Hair in a Can Spray (Great Looking Hair Formula #9)

Drain Buster

Smokeless Ashtray: “Does cigar and cigarette smoke irritate your eyes?” Commercials showed this device drawing smoke from burning cigarettes back into the ashtray itself.

Electric Food Dehydrator: “Instead of giving kids candy, give them apple snacks or banana chips. And it’s great if you’re a hunter, fisherman, backpacker, or camper. Makes beef jerky for around $3 a pound, and you know what went in it, because you made it yourself!”

Ronco Popeil Automatic Pasta Maker

The Cap Snaffler: “Snaffles caps off any size jug, bottle, or jar … and it really, really works.”

The Showtime Six Star Plus 25 Knife Set and the Solid Flavor Injector: “Three easy payments of $13.33!”

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