Most likely a Zerostat anti-static gun. Mine seems to work good, kind of pricey though. Ive heard good things about Mapleshades one as well.
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As Jlind325is suggests, you're probably seeing a Zerostat which is used to dissipate the static electric charge that accumulates on your vinyl. I've used one for 20+ years and it still works well. Probably a more important accessory for your vinyl is a carbon fibre brush for removing static and surface dust. I like the Audioquest brush and use it before playing each side.
Speaking of old school record 'cleaning' and treatment devices, what about those little brushes that have the radioactive element and are sold to photographers for cleaning lenses? I bought one back in the early seventies, i'm sure the 'active' element is long gone, but, suprisingly, the company is still in business and offers refills. The name escapes me for the moment, but for records that are already 'clean,' I liked this sucker for a quick dustup and anti-static treatment. Anybody else have one of these?
Those old wrist watches that glowed in the dark, yeah, they killed a whole bunch of old ladies who worked in the factory. Most of the old ladies woud lick the bristles to make a fine tip for painting arms and numbers. The ladies that didn't die lost most of their jaw.
Most things radioactive have half-lifes on the order of hundreds of thousands of years, so if they were radioactive in the 70's they are still radioactive now.
My advice, don't lick your old brush. :)
Don't let the threat of a little radiation scare you off. You may wish to consider a Family Radiation Measurement Kit made by Bendix during the Cold War. Mine looks exactly like the one in the picture:
Really. I'm not recommending it, obviously, but if you want the thing I'll mail it.
The first $5 gets it. That covers packing tape, postage, gas to the post office and a Dunkin' Donuts stop. No higher bids will be accepted! :-)
It's had virtually no use, because it has virtually no use,
P.S. Mapleshade warns not to use it near sensitive elecronics. I haven't tested that and don't plan to.
I have a Zerostat and a Nagaoka Kilavolt No.103. It says right on it, "Be Careful not to discharge the beam on a human body".
How's that for scary?
Does anybody know anything about this device. I've had it for about a third of a century and don't even remember how it came into my possession. It runs on a single "C" cell.
I am sure there are instructions that come with the Zerostat, but I have had mine for at least 20 years and have no idea where they might be. I also have seldom used the Zerostat as both Texas and Florida are very humid and little if any static electricity.
As I recall, however, I put the record on the turntable and held the Zerostat at the far side from the tonearm at about two inches from the record. This was when I live on Long Island.
I must say that I recent heard the benefits of the Walker Talisman magnet on my records. Static electricity or not, it greatly improved the clarity of the lps. It is a new product from Walker Audio. I also found my Zerostat and tried it once again. It did nothing.
I have a relatively new zerostat which I occasionally try on records that come out of the sleeve with a lot of static.
Generally, it has very little effect, and frankly I wouldn't bother if I didn't already have one (and hope didn't spring eternal). A carbon fiber brushing and then a lightly wet Discwasher pass are WAY more effective.
re: Carbon Fiber brushes. IMO the Hunt EDA or Goldring Exstatic, which have a conventional pad seperating the two rows of carbon, are way more effective than the simple cheapos. The main reason is that the pad sitting behind the carbon acts as support as you sweep the record, so the soft carbon fibers "stand up" and carry the dirt better.
Also note that I mentioned a damp Discwasher pass AFTER the carbon fiber. This is because NO dry brush of any type can actually remove all the smallest "microdust" particles. (And this is the most damaging type of dirt to your lp's because it's small enough to sit INSIDE the grooves and act as an abrasive.) All Carbon fiber brushes leave a significant amount of this stuff behind. You absolutely need a lightly damped pad following the carbon.
BTW - You can modify a standard Audioquest type brush to get a similar effectiveness to the Hunt EDA by gluing a strip of fibers cut from an old Discwasher (or a similar fabric) on to one face of a standard pencil (which is cut to the proper length), and then gluing the pencil inside the space between the 2 rows of carbon fibers - it fits perfectly.