Having recently brushed down my Hoover I thought I would delve a little deeper into it's dustbag. Foremost in the mess is the confusing similarity between the toy makers HOVER and HOOVER. Generally I have come across more Hover toys than Hoover. Both companies have had a crack at at least one of the top two copied SWORD toys, Probe Force 3 (P3) and Space Glider. The classic Hover V-wings logo is pictured below on the Hover P3 box (which was itself a Tarheel clone). Note also the 'SWORD' arrowhead on the pictured plane itself. Hover toys were made in Hong Kong.
The Hover logo appears to have also changed colour to fit different box backgrounds. Below is the gloriously perfect Hover clone of the Century 21 BOOSTER ROCKET complete with classic Valigursky-esque box art. Those clever Hover guys simply swapped SWORD for NASA making it, yep, PROJECT NASA! The NASA motif, a distinctive black and orange guitar-like dart, also featured on the toy itself as a sticker. However in their haste to get it to the toy store they forgot to remove the SWORD acronym on the side of the box! (not pictured here).
And contrary to the SWORD badge shown on the box, its the NASA sticker that actually appears on the Hover P3 toy as well - below.
So with that established the Hover/NASA thread can be put to bed. Well, no. Just to confuse matters further another P3 was produced and called simply NASA. In all other respects its a Hover lookalike, including the familiar NASA stickers. Is it just possible that HOVER and NASA are the same company?
Just to keep us on our toes those cheeky HOVER chaps also used SWORD stickers on their toys as seen here on my Hover Probe Force 1 (P1) below, making it an identical toy to the TARHEEL P1(not pictured).
Only the boxes differed: note the SWORD badge on the lower Tarheel box
and the model number on the Tarheel box end - lower left.
That's enough Hover-ing. What about HOOVER? On my Hoover Helicopter box you can see the HOOVER arrowhead in the bottom right next to the item number 886 and the tagline 'Another Hoover Toy'.
The Hoover arrow appears on the helicopter iteslf as well.
And finally the Helicopter box reveals its best secret - 'Made in Thailand'. So was HOOVER a Thai company?
Just when I thought it was safe to put away the Hoover there's another twist. On my Hoover racing car (Craig Breedlove's Spirit of America style) below there's a confusing mix of the HOOVER name with a HOVER wings logo and 'Made in Hong Kong'! Go figure! A typo?
At the start of this blogelt I said that the Space Glider had been copied. Not by Hover (why not, everbody else did!) but Hoover. Posted recently courtesy of reader Arto here is the HOOVER SPACE GLIDER boxed showing the normal Hoover arrow, the model number 803 and 'Made in Hong Kong', which probably puts paid to the theory that Hoover was Thai.
Hovering Hoovers! That's all folks.