The Improved #7 BUNAB,
from Orville K. Snav & Associates



The Improved #7 Bunab was the flagship product of Orville K. Snav & Associates, of Mason City Iowa (United States). Orville K. Snav & Associates was run by the late Al Crowder, Assistant to the President. After he passed away, it was run by his wife.

I believe the Bunab was first introduced in the 1950's, but I could be wrong.

The improved #7 Bunab was attractively priced, in spite of its cutting-edge technology. If I recall correctly, when I bought mine (late 1970's), they were $1.35 each, or two for $2.75.

Buying your own Bunab meant more than just acquiring a product that never became obsolete: you then became an Assistant to the President. (I once saw a list of many of the Assistants to the President. Former Nixon aide H. R. "Bob" Haldeman was on the list, but I can't remember who else.)

Each Bunab came with a set of instructions, and was marked with its own serial number. The number on my instructions is "41400". The instructions appear below.

Al Crowder believed in the power of the Bunab, but this was certainly not the only product in their line. In fact, Orville K Snav & Associates was blessed with a VARIETY of flagship products.

  • Zudirk, a small board game whose details I can't remember, but you were definitely not supposed to play it with strangers. In fact, you were clearly instructed: "Don't play Zudirk with strangers!!" UPDATE: Geoffrey White was kind enough to send me scans of the board and instructions for Zudirk. You can see what they look like, but because they take a long time to download in their original format, I chose to compromise on the color quality so that they would download more quickly. Here are the instructions and board.
  • The PMM Shield. Geared to those people who can't stand the morning, it protected them from the onslaught of the AM hours. It consisted of a black semi-circle which you were supposed to paste over one half of your clock face.
  • A record for those who liked to listen to records while watching TV. It was priced around $15, according to my Dad, and was completely silent on both sides. Mr. Crowder was once asked on a game show why it cost so much if it was only silence. Crowder defended the price well, saying that the production costs were tremendous. Imagine, he said, getting a full 40-piece orchestra into a studio, getting them all tuned up, and then asking them to remain silent for two 20 minute periods. Invariably, he went on, you'd be seven minutes into a take and someone's chair would squeak, or someone would cough,forcing you to start all over.

Like a number of innovative companies, Orville K. Snav & Associates is unfortunately no longer in business, as far as I know. (Perhaps, like some famous failed dot-coms, it was an issue of financial excess: letters from headquarters frequently referred to the "company's annual 4th of July picnic, still in progress".)

So what did the Bunab do? Here's what the instructions said:


will, with reasonable care, give years of trouble-free service. It has been scientifically inspected and checked against the master model at the factory.

    #7 Improved BUNAB will meet, or exceed, specifications set up by the industry for accuracy, durability, and simplicity of operation.

    NO MOVING PARTS insures constant stability. Elimination of springs, cams, splines, etc., insures against variations due to changes in temperature or humidity.

    NON-FADE COLORS make it practical for use in bright sunlight for long periods.

    For periodic cleaning, use only mild soap and warm (not hot) water. Naptha, carbon tetrachloride, or alcohol are not needed and might result in damage if such solvents are used too often.

    WARNING . . . In spite of the simplicity of design, your #7 BUNAB should be treated with the respect due any delicate instrument. When not in use it should be kept IN THE BOX. The box is designed so that the BUNAB may be safely carried in the pocket or purse. Damage may result from careless handling.

    SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN assures perfect results, even in the hands of the average housewife or small child. With a minimum of practice, results equalling those of a skilled technician using the conventional instrument may be expected.

    LOW COST, due to mass production and control makes it practical to invest in a spare BUNAB. Many users keep a new spare on hand for critical testing. After prolonged use the BUNAB may indicate a variation of one or two percent when checked against a new BUNAB. In that case, the old one should be discarded immediately. Satisfaction in positive results will readily offset the slight cost of replacement.

    BE SURE TO FILL OUT THE REGISTRATION CARD AND MAIL IMMEDIATELY. In filling out the card your comments on your experience with the BUNAB will be appreciated. Also any suggestions for improvement.

    The improved #7 BUNAB is a product of

O   R   V   I   L   L   E     K.     S   N   A   V     &     A   S   S   O   C   I   A   T   E   S
Mason City, Iowa     50401


Was Todd Rundgren singing about the Bunab in 1975?

In 1975, Todd Rundgren (of "Hello It's Me," and "[I Don't Wanna Work, I Wanna] Bang the Drum All Day" fame) released an album called "Initiation." The song "Fair Warning" begins with a spoken word stanza about how we need to take ownership and that we can't rely on others. He lists all those who "won't do it"...

You know, wishing won't make it so
Hoping won't do it, praying won't do it,
Religion won't do it, philosophy won't do it
The Supreme Court won't do it,
The president and the congress won't do it
[The ??? won't do it], the H bomb won't do it
The sun and the moon won't do it
God won't do it, and I certainly won't do it
That leaves you, you'll have to do it.
--   "Fair Warning", by Todd Rundgren. Copyright 1975 by Earmark Music/Screen Gems

The phrase in brackets does not appear in the lyric sheet, nor in any publication. To my ears, it sounds like he is saying "The Bunab won't do it." In a 1977 letter to me, the publisher's office said they thought the missing phrase was "The U.N. won't do it." But to me this doesn't make sense. Government agencies are mentioned in the previous section, and he has moved on to amazing technologies like the H bomb. So in the context of the H Bomb, "the Bunab" makes more sense than "the U.N."

If you are aware of any erroneous statements in the above, corrections are welcomed. Please email me. Comments are welcomed, too. But if you are looking for a Bunab, I don't know where you can get one, so please don't waste your time emailing me, even if your professor promised you an A. You might try eBay or But in all cases, beware of imitations. It's easy to make a counterfeit BunaB. Very easy. And prices in the secondhand (used, auction, etc.) markets can be expensive.

Recollections of other happy Snav customers

Back to Top