Even if you’ve never seen a Ronco product in person, you know the commercials. For decades, Ronco was the king of infomercials with famous products like the Showtime Rotisserie, the Ronco Food Dehydrator, and of course the famed Veg-O-Matic, which slices, dices, and makes julienned fries. Now the iconic infomercial company has filed for bankruptcy after failing to secure funding through an IPO.
Ronco founder and spokesperson Ron Popeil created the company in the 1960s and became famous on TV for his trademark pitches like, “set it and forget it,” and “it slices, it dices!” Most of his products were kitchen items like the Veg-O-Matic, Showtime Rotisserie, Inside-the-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler, a Chop-O-Matic handheld food processor, a five-minute pasta maker, and an electric food dehydrator. There's even a Veg-O-Matic in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Popeil sold the company for close to $60 million in 2005.
Now the New York Post reports that Ronco has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after an attempt last year to raise $30 million through an unconventional IPO that offered a 20-percent discount on Ronco products to anybody who purchased more than $1,000 worth of Ronco stock. The company has reportedly been sold multiple times since Popeil sold it, and Popeil did not seem surprised to hear about the bankruptcy. He said he thought the current owners had changed some of the company's most successful products, and added new products that weren't any good.
Popeil told the Post he’s still inventing kitchen products, and his newest is a turkey fryer that can fit on a countertop. For more of the most bonkers devices ever invented, check out these ridiculous kitchen gadgets you don’t really need, but will probably want anyway.