Were VHS rewinders snake oil?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by 2trackmind, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    The Duke City
    What most people didn’t realize at the time, unfortunately, is rewinding VHS tapes immediately after viewing is bad for the tape.

    A rewound tape is tighter than a tape that is just wound through normal play and the tighter a tape is wound the worse the condition of the tape becomes.

    The best thing to do is rewind the tapes just prior to viewing. And while those old rewinders could still be used for that they still weren’t great for the tapes.

    Edit - I see @Pinknik already covered this while I was typing.
  2. SizzleVonSizzleton

    SizzleVonSizzleton The Last Yeti

    If you kept your receipt I can give you store credit, but unfortunately I can't refund your money! :cool:
  3. Splungeworthy

    Splungeworthy Forum Rezidentura

    They worked better than the DVD rewinders.
    Gaslight, carrick doone and Pinknik like this.
  4. Pinknik, Simon A and uzn007 like this.
  5. Humanoid_Z

    Humanoid_Z Well-Known Member

    Canada and China
    still better than green markers
    Gaslight, Chris DeVoe and uzn007 like this.
  6. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    But, if you notice the predominant color. Just having "Green" close to a DVD has to be a good thing.

    I gotta have one of these. I could have a lot of fun showing guests how an "audiophile" always uses his DVD rewinder, prior to placing the played DVD back into it's case.

    This way it is sure to be ready to start at the beginning of the tape the next time that it is played.
  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    VHS tape machines were mechanical horrible monstrosities. The motors would wear and slow down.

    Anything you could do to take the load off of a tape machine, you did.

    An average rewinder, might have cost $8.

    An average VCR about $500 + the cost of repairs and adjustments.

    It is money well spent!
  8. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    All of the VCRs we owned would have been your average model you could have bought at a Sears, I don't think we owned more than 2 or 3 of them and they did see quite a bit of use. I only became a videophile towards the start of the BD era, when it became obvious that this was a giant leap in fidelity. I remember the rewinders were the most common device you'd find in the cheap electronics bins.

    We lived in Canada and the US in the VHS era I don't think I've ever encountered a video store (mom and pop or chain) that charged for not rewinding a tape. It was always just a courtesy from places I rented from.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  9. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Blockbuster had rewind fees.
  10. dewey02

    dewey02 Forum Resident

    The mid-South.
    Exactly. Look at a tape that's played at standard speed through your VHS machine and you will see it is very smoothly wound. Then look at a tape that has been rewound (either in VHS or via rewinder) and it is all over the place. Storing them for extended periods in that condition was said to not be a good thing. I read about this many years ago (during the VHS era) and always left my tapes unwound until I was going to play them again. Did it make any difference? I never knew.
    Pinknik likes this.
  11. Holy Socks

    Holy Socks Active Member

    Auburn CA
    Very handy device, especially when you rented a whole bunch of rentals all at once. My best one was made by Kinko.
  12. MRamble

    MRamble Forum Resident

    You're not sold?

    We were there. You were not. (Going by your posts you didn't actually live through this period.)

    The rewinders served a purpose. What if you needed to rewind a tape but the VCR was currently being used because you were watching a movie or something? Why wait till the movie was over to then rewind the next tape? You'd pop it in the rewinder so it'd be ready for you. This was common issue during a movie night.

    The concern over wear and tear was real and not paranoia. I had many VCR's that would eat up--and ruin---tapes. Using your VCR as a rewinding machine on top of normal daily use was a risk of wearing down the parts and causing issues later.

    The VCR was probably the most important machine in the house growing up. Considering all the stuff we'd tape off the TV/cable; we definitely made sure to take good care of it.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  13. 2trackmind

    2trackmind Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm not sure where you got that from. I was there. I owned VCRs back then. Never a dedicated rewinder. I never knew anyone else that owned one either.
    Pinknik likes this.
  14. Pinknik

    Pinknik Senior Member

    But that smooth wind is so pretty! :D
    dewey02 likes this.
  15. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    Same here. National Video in the 80's. Perfect job for a teenager at the time. Some of our evening customers complained because we'd play Eddie Murphy's Delirious all the time. :D
    eric777 likes this.
  16. eric777

    eric777 Astral Projectionist

    Yeah, it was a great job. I worked at a store called Movie Mart in 1992. I really miss that store.
    Simon A likes this.
  17. Dude111

    Dude111 An Awesome Dude

    Ya dont understand buddy... Those rewinders DO NOT SLOW DOWN so when the tape reached the spool IT WAS FULL SPEED and a lot of times the tape is knocked off the spool!!

    I have gotton some tapes off ebay where the tape was off the spool cause they used one of these things..... I had to open the cartrisge and re-attach the tape to the spool.. (A couple times I had to transfer it to a new shell)

    Not a good thing using these things,they are horrible....... If one cares about thier tapes and how beautiful they are,they wont use one!!
  18. Anthology123

    Anthology123 Senior Member

    I still have 3 Sony VCRs of different years. The middle one had a nice feature of starting the rewind at a slow speed for the first 10 seconds, then sped up the speed to much faster, then slowing it down to the last minute before coming to a gentle stop. I did own a winder, but after buying this certain mode Sony VCR, all my rewinds were done there.
    Dude111, Gems-A-Bems and Chris DeVoe like this.
  19. 201k

    201k Active Member

    Used mine all the time back in the day. Saved a ton of time and helped to avoid rewind fees.
  20. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe 3 months since last false death report!

    I still have several VHS decks for dumping video to YouTube and DVD. I can get prime Sony and Mitsubishi S-VHS decks for $5 at estate sales. The trick to getting great quality captures is owning an external Time Base Corrector.
    201k likes this.
  21. Yes, rewinders were hard on tapes. VHS tapes were not intended to hit the end of the spool at full speed to a dead stop.

    Good mid and later 80s VHS decks (Panasonic, JVC, Hitachi) had the start slow, speed up, slow down mechanism that saved the tapes and the drive mechanisms were much better than the other brands.

    Source: me - I worked on them in college.

    As Chris DeVoe mentioned, poor tape quality, age, and stretching (thanks to rewinders!) require a time base corrector to transfer to digital.
    Chris DeVoe and Gems-A-Bems like this.
  22. Khaki F

    Khaki F Forum Resident

    Kenosha, WI. USA
    I never worried about wear and tear on my VCR's due to rewinding, but it sure was a pita to wait for the tapes to rewind when you had people over and had rented multiple titles for the evening so no, not snake oil... a useful device.

    What *was* snake oil, were the head cleaning cassette kits. They used all manner of solvents, didn't clean the heads very well, and whatever was in that chemical concoction would usually attract particles to the heads more rapidly after use, further gumming up the works so to speak. It was easier, cleaner, and more efficient to just remove the VCR lid and clean the heads (carefully) with ordinary Q-Tips dipped in rubbing alcohol. I know some of the purists will be all over me for that, mentioning special swabs and purer alcohol but hey... it worked.
  23. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Norfolk, UK
    I had one towards the end of my VHS life. I used it occasionally. I didn't rent tapes by that point so it was my own issue if I hadn't rewound it.

    Worth having.

    The problem with VCRs like all tech is that the one you bought in 1980 weighed 20kg and was 90% steel. The last one you bought in 2001 was 3kg and 90% plastic.

    The last VCR I bought was a Mitsubishi in 1996 iirc.
  24. PaulKTF

    PaulKTF Senior Member

    Looking at this again, it's obviously a Photoshop job (albeit a pretty funny one). :)
  25. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Now that would be snake oil, lol!

    I bet you could sell a vinyl record rewinder to some folks today. Maybe call it the Crosby Record Rewinder, to avoid a lawsuit, but aim it at the correct target market.

    I don't see how a VHS rewinder could be considered snake oil; wrong choice of terms perhaps? True, they definitely were not a requirement to watching VHS tapes, but that doesn't make them a scam. They definitely did save wear and tear on VCR's, given that they all had moving parts, especially if used frequently. Plus the benefit that people have mentioned about being able to simply watch the next tape immediately.

Share This Page