Gadget memories – Ronco Buttoneer

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Tragedy struck this morning when the button fell off my pants and I’ve been walking around all day hitching my pants up every so often just because I’m too lazy to go searching for a needle and thread. The situation caused me to remember a gadget from my childhood – the Ronco Buttoneer. Does anyone else remember this gadget from the 70’s?


The Buttoneer was a hand held plastic device with a handle on one end and a needle on the other. A strip of tiny plastic fasteners were loaded into a chamber and then when you inserted the needle through a button and material, it fastened them together without using needle and thread. They touted it as the 5 second button attacher. Genius!


I remember playing with the Buttoneer and fastening things together that really weren’t supposed to be fastened together. I was a gadget rebel even back in the day ;o) Fond memories of gadget days gone by. Here’s a commercial:

You can still buy the original Buttoneer on eBay and from Etsy shops like the one I found these images.

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Ronco / As seen on TV needs to come out with a new and IMPROVED Buttoneer that is USB powered with WiFi and lasers!

Should we make a reoccurring gadget memories feature?

23 thoughts on “Gadget memories – Ronco Buttoneer”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
    1. Quentin Queer

      When I meet a musketeer, a buccaneer, brexiteer or even a pioneer of any sort, i gift them a Ronco Buttoneer and hope they don’t go thermonuclear.

      Mr Queer

  2. @Julie, I can always count on you for a memory reminder and a good smile,

    “Ronco / As seen on TV needs to come out with a new and IMPROVED Buttoneer that is USB powered with WiFi and lasers!”

    However, I must admit that it is not childhood but an earlier adult memory for me. I always look forward to your articles and reviews.

  3. While you’re at it, let’s bring back the Mr Clean Car Wash System, featuring an unwieldy handheld soap dispenser and water filter which attached to your hose in place of a simple nozzle. Amazingly, this contraption delivered on its promise to deliver a spot-free car wash.

    1. Where did you get refills, I just bought the buttoneer from a thrift store for .50$. Was very excited but when I got home, the fasteners are so brittle, that just picking them up, they break, every one of them. So sad.

      1. Cindy,
        I sell the refills for the “real” original Buttoneer, look on ebay, I ship to the US.
        My listing shows clear photos of the 1970’s buttoneer it fits, any questions just ask,
        I will try and put a link for you,
        Kind regards Donna

  4. Oh yeah! I remember it, I had one of those, they’re great!! I’d love to get another one as my wife isn’t the best or fastest sewer in the world.


  5. I loved this gadget – fastened far more than buttons. Eventually the plastic tags got used up and I couldn’t get replacements. So I threw it away. I replaced it with an Avery two needle gadget – which I found useless by comparison. Occasionally I look for the old Ronco one, but I think it has gone forever.

    1. eBay, just search ” Buttoneer refills 4mm and 8mm”
      They are brand new and fit the very very good vintage One needle buttoneer,
      Do not be mistaken for the blurred photo ones, the one that’s on sale now ( and continually available ) has a photo of the blue and silver 1970’s Rondo Buttoneer, ( up to date May 2018) and has clear photos of exactly what you are buying, £4.95 for 96.

  6. Cyndie J Chinnici

    I just inherited an original one, and I do mean ORIGINAL, from my Gramma’s sewing supplies. The fasteners themselves fall off the cartridge and then fall apart if you look at them cockeyed.😁 When I googled, attempting to maybe, possibly find viable refills, I found you. Glad to know this thing didn’t just exist in Gramma’s room. Gram passed in 2005, my uncle took over the house. My Uncle passed this past January from Covid-19 complications. We are finding many forgotten treasures as the house is getting cleaned out.

  7. We had one when I was young and it was so much quicker than needle and thread. However, it had one major downside. If a button was worn against the skin the plastic fastener would be way too irritating.
    Now if they could design one that doesn’t use plastic as the fastener, but something softer, it would be a winner for sure.

  8. I still have my buttoneer and the two needle version. Love them both and still use them. Single needle version is better as it’s more versatile. I still have, and use, the flower loom too.

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