Techmoan is always digging up examples of strange old-school tech, and this episode does not disappoint. What you’re looking at is a wonderful specimen of cassette futurism. Sony’s Chordmachine is a 1982 device that combines a boombox with a synthesizer that plays chords and rhythms and records sounds to tape.
Techmoan takes a look at one of the stranger boomboxes ever made, the Mitsubishi TX-L50. At first glance, it’s a perfectly ordinary-looking boombox, but this one has a mechanism that lets it play both sides of up to five cassettes for up to 10 hours of continuous music when used with 120-minute tapes.
If you know how to make a silicone mold, you could easily make yourself a record out of chocolate or candy. But would you want to put one on your turntable and gunk up the stylus? Techmoan bought a chocolate record from Etsy seller FoodIsArt to see what it sounds like when played. Freezing the disc helps quite a bit.
Nearly everyone has a smartphone with a camera these days, and videoconferencing is commonplace. But back in the 1980s, it certainly was not. Techmoan shows off Sony’s PCT-15 aka “Face to Face,” a 1988 device that could send a single black-and-white image at a time, transmitting data via a phone line – like a fax machine.
Techmoan examines an unusual bit of retro gadgetry which lets users see the precise arrangement of magnetic particles on tape recordings. You can find a modern-day version of the tape viewer from Arnold Magnetics. It’s basically a round version of those Wooly Willy toys.
Techmoan checks out another unusual gadget from the past – though this one only dates back to 2007. For a brief period of time, videogame company SEGA’s toy division made a pricey miniature grand piano with mechanical keys that move in time with the music. You could also play it yourself – if your fingers were really tiny.
These days, everyone carries a videophone in their pocket. But before the days of iPhones and Galaxies, calling someone and seeing them at the same time was difficult and expensive to achieve. Techmoan shows off one of the earlier examples of a working video calling system, British Telecom’s VC 7000, which dates back to 1993.