Video: An unholy combination of 8-track tape and vinyl record



I’ve got a feeling that I remember something like this tech being marketed as a children’s toy, lo, many decades ago. Some time before the invention of CDs, but after cassettes.

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As a child, I had a portable Playtape player. It was a two track magnetic cassette system. The cassettes looked kind of like a miniature 8-tracks. That was another audio format from Germany that never really got sufficient market penetration.


Fascinating, it’s like looking at the most mundane part of an alternate universe.
Technology that is almost-familiar-looking but quite oblique to what we’re used to.


That’s actually a pretty great idea, if there was no such thing as magnetism, but then we would all be dead from the cosmic rays.

I had an aunt that used to dictate books onto a portable dictabelt machine. This used blue belts which date it to the 1960’s. We tried to get more belts from the Dictaphone company as there was no e-bay back then. They couldn’t give us any, but if we were not using it, they wanted to have it for their museum. I guess it is still there.

Here’s an earlier model, but it looked similar…

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There were actually a surprising number of tape cartridge formats introduced back then, from the 50’s right up until the failed DCC digital compact cassette (and mini disc) of the 90’s. There were 4-track cartridges that preceded 8-tracks, plus a 3-track “fidelipac” tape cartridge, and later a couple versions of a giant cassette, the RCA cartridge and the Elcaset. I have to admit the Tefi stands out simply because it was non-magnetic.

Vinyl needle heads work with magnetism also, converting motion (with a small magnet inside an electrical coil) to electrical signals.

“Germany during the middle of the last century”. What a terrific euphemism for “Nazi”.

Since when does 1945-1965 have anything to do with Nazis? What a terrific euphemism for “flunked HS history.”


I guess just the part where it was invented in the 1930s and used for military purposes before it became a commercial product.

And that makes him a Nazi?

He started his work with phonographic tapes in 1926 – after the organization of the NP in 1920, but you’re not giving us anything other than a generic “German company sold to the military := Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!”

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I make no representations about whether the inventor is a Nazi. But this is a Nazi-era product, originally used primarily by the military, which was later re-purposed and only made into a consumer product after its original military purpose became obsolete. All I’m saying is that the representation of “during the middle of the last century” needlessly talks around the origin of this product, and thus appears to be a euphemism. I’m sorry pointing this out causes you such distress. I see that you feel that making a point of mentioning the Nazi-era history of things, when discussing the history of things that appear to have a Nazi-era history, is not a worthwhile endeavor. Good for you.


And I’m saying you are needlessly Godwinizing this thread.

“Nazi-era” is a very charged euphamism for the period 1920-1945, which includes a large number of non-Nazis.

The product was not developed for the military, but after other markets didn’t materialize, the military was a buyer. As was the US military for the internet, but I don’t see you referring to your communications as being conducted via a “Vietnam-era Military Project.”

Although perhaps you do.


I’m amazed this one didn’t surface during the heyday of the Dead Media Project.

Well, sure, but if you’re going to nit-pick that way, all audio devices work with magnetism since speaker cones have magnets. I think the point here is that the actual “data” isn’t a magnetic pulse on the tape, but a physical groove. Nobody thinks of a phonograph record as “magnetic.”

Oh, you would be surprised.

Which just shows how much more dead media there is out there…

Well nitpickers would point out that Victrolas, Edison cylinder and disk players were strictly mechanical. They’re only magnetic in the sense that they’re made out of atoms.