Techmoan shows off another strange bit of 1980s tech. The Magic Message was a cassette tape player attached to a remote transducer and designed to play audio descriptions of products when a salesperson wasn’t available. It had suction cups and was designed to be installed inside of a window.
Awesome Cassette Tapes
Scott & Heather of Scavenging Metal create amazing art inspired by pop culture. One of our faves is this steel cassette tape that’s five times larger than the real thing. We love the details like the ball-bearing reels and tape made from chain. Oh, and next Halloween, we’re totally going with their propane tank jack-o’-lanterns.
DOIY Design and Haniboi’s playful wallet is a throwback to the good old cassette tape. While it won’t play you a mix, it will hold your spare change, bills and cards. It’s made from pliable silicone, and comes in grey, teal, neon yellow, and coral. And yes, it has both an “A” side and a “B” side.
Celebrate your love for old-school cassette tapes with this useful desktop organizer caddy. Instead of magnetic recording tape, it holds sticky Scotch tape, and it’s got storage cubbies for pens, pencils, thumbtacks, or other small items. Available with a grey, blue, or pink label.
Ready for a trip back to the 1980s? The guys at We Are the Mutants spotted this gem of a commercial that perfectly captures the sci-fi aesthetics of the era. This big budget ad spot that implies General Electric’s cassette tape players will free the oppressed was obviously influenced by Apple’s famous 1984 Super Bowl spot.
It’s been 40 years since the Sony Walkman first came on the scene, and since been supplanted by CDs, MP3s, and streaming. But if you’re craving that old cassette tape sound, NINM Lab’s portable player/recorder has Bluetooth 5.0, so you can wirelessly send its sounds to a speaker or headphones. Sadly it’s not stereo.
Techmoan dug up another relic of unusual tech from the 1980s, a boombox from Japanese electronics company National that sported not one or two tape decks, but three. It’s basically the “this one goes to 11” of cassette players. Also, once he cracked it open to perform some repairs, he discovered a mechanical nightmare.
Techmoan digs up all kinds of strange and wonderful “high-tech” stuff from the past. One of the crazier items has to be this cassette tape which defeated the entire purpose of a cassette, making you load in tiny reels of tape. Perhaps this was the precursor to the fidget spinner.
Techmoan checks out an awesomely complex bit of 1970s tech. The Panasonic RS-296US used a mechanical carousel filled with 20 extra-long cassette tapes to allow for up to 2.5 days of continuous music. There was no way to select individual tracks, but you could choose tapes.
A while back, we featured Taybles’ awesome, but pricey cassette tape coffee table. They recently launched a Kickstarter to bring down the cost so more of us can enjoy one, complete with the hidden compartment, drink holders, and dry erase top for customizing your mix.
Along with vinyl, cassette tapes are staging their own comeback, with ongoing interest from electronic musicians who find the analog sound and hiss complements rather than detracts from their music. The Vinyl Factory explores this growing movement. (Thanks Paul!)