Four technologies fighting for survival
Via American Radio History as always,
an interesting collision of four technologies. Seen in Radio Retailing magazine in 1950.
Tape was brand new. Home disc recording was moderately popular but never dominant. Wire recording was incurably messy. And non-electric windup phonographs were still in the game.
Why did reel-to-reel tape become the sole recording medium? It had the same messiness as wire until cassettes came along. (Cassettes were already developed in 1950 but didn't take over until 1965.) Why didn't Dictaphone cylinders, the direct descendant of Edison's original invention, move into home use? They were much easier to use than tape or wire, and less expensive than disks. The cylinder or loop was common in offices from 1910 to 1960.
Among these four, the Recordette was definitely best value for the price. You got an ordinary phonograph AND a recorder AND a radio, all working together with a mode switch. You also got a closable case and a neat compartment for records and a place to fasten the microphone if you weren't going to hold it. The windup had a similar case and compartment, plus a clip for the crank, plus a cute miniature vault
for spare needles.
I'm a sucker for hidden compartments and places to keep spares and tools. Love it. Modern equipment has abandoned the tradition. Computers don't have a pocket for USB drives or a place to hang the mouse. You have to find or make your own storage.
[Multiply these prices by 10 to get modern numbers.]
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