1950. Credit cards were introduced to US shoppers, milk was delivered to doorsteps, and shoe laces were getting tied for the great space race. To record all this squeaky clean fun was the G-type recorder.
A company named Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation (predecessor to the Sony brand) launched what was deemed the “first tape recorder” in Japan. Now at the time, vinyl records were extremely common but the idea of making a recording for you was just as foreign in 1950 was about as wide spread rock and roll.
The device had a tape speed of 19cm per second and had a small-hub reel which accepted reel tapes in diameters up to 10 inches. The recording medium was quite a bit different than what we’d picture reel tape to be. It was long-fiber craft paper ordered from a mill. Dissolved magnetic powder was then painted on it. Recording controls were on the front and carrying handles on both sides to make it easier to carry. This gadget weighted over 70 pounds.
The first set of customers of course was government agencies where recordings might be well “useful” including the Supreme Court. It was this first wave of adoption that earned the recorder the name “Type G”. I wonder if any landmark Supreme Court cases were documented with a Sony device?
You could imagine the challenge Sony faced when launching a product with an entirely new concept. How do you explain this to people?
Enter Sony founder Akio Morita who penned “Magnetic Tape Recording – – What’s a tape corder?”
Morita said “”When you open a personal photograph album, you experience an enjoyable visual record of memories in the form of countless photographs. Similarly, by using a tape corder, you leave an audio record of your daily life and work in the form of audio recordings that you can listen to…Just as photographs are now an inseparable part of our daily lives, audio ‘recordings’ will likewise become essential as well.” Now looking back, he had foresight as reel led to cassettes which led to discs and now digital media.
So as we capture our moments on our phones, MP4 cameras and DSLRs, we’ve sure come a long way. From “corder” to “YouTube”. I guess the million dollar question is what’s next? You can ponder that over that today as it’s not just a Friday, it’s a Flashback Friday.