26 March 2015

Bang & Olufsen 90th anniversary - love affair

Bang & Olufsen was founded by two engineers, Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen on the 17th november 1925. Their first significant product to bear the Bang & Olufsen name was the B&O Eliminator radio. This was a significant product as it could be connected directly to the mains rather than being battery-operated as other similar products of the times.

Founders Svend Olufsen and Peter Bang

After a series of successful radio and cinema sound systems in 1939 it was launched the Beolit, the first radio with a bakelite cabinet. This was the starting point of the famous "BEO" prefix product families such as the BEOMASTER product range. In january 1945 the Bang & Olufsen factories were totally destroyed by pro-Nazy saboteurs as a punishment to Bang & Olufsen refusal to collaborate with the nazi Germans. The factory was rebuilt and operational by 1946.

Designer Jakob Jensen at work

Product design and ease of operation were allways key elements of the Bang & Olufsen products. By 1960 they begin a series of successfull collaboration with designer Jakob Jensen. In 1978, the Museum of Modern Art in New York held an exibition dedicated to Bang & Olufsen designs. Among the exhibited models was the BEOCENTER 7000 designed by Jakob Jensen. Since 1980 most of the company's products were designed by David Lewis who became involved with Bang & Olufsen in 1965.

Six of the most current iconic designs are brought together in this Tokyo product display to bridge past and present celebrating 90 years of Bang & Olufsen passion, pride and persistence. The love affair collection.

The Love Affair Collection

18 March 2015

Cassette winding device (and it's not a pencil)

You probably have seen many times  a picture of a compact casssette and a pencil followed by the question: What's the link between a cassette and a pencil? Many people think that is about writing the artist name on the label and nothing else. That's partially true but those who post this kind of picture usually see the pencil as a tool used to forward the tape without inserting the cassette in your player.

There was however a better method to fast forward your cassette without using your player. It was a hand winder made by japanese company JEWLTONE, model CT-406J. This device could be usefull if you are using a battery powered player (to save battery) or you simply need to quickly wind a cassette while another one is playing. 

That's pretty cool, isnt't it ? Some think that cassette can still Rock You.

03 March 2015

Compact Cassette and the Digital age

The history of the Compact Cassette begin in 1963 when PHILIPS presented the first compact cassette recorder, the EL 3300 as a dictation machine. This format quickly became very popular and soon the Compact Cassette became a competitive Hi-Fi stereo audio format. Being so popular and widely available there were other technological fields that choose the Compact Cassette for various purposes. Here are some examples.

In 1975 a KODAK engineer, Steve J. Sasson builds the World first still image Digital camera. It had a resolution of 0.01 megapixel captured by a CCD image sensor and stored on a Compact Cassette. It took 23 seconds to record a black and white photo. Images were played back from the Compact Cassette into a computer and displyed on a television set.

World first still image Digital camera

World first still image Digital camera

In 1985 the same Compact Cassette was used, this time by TOSHIBA under it's Japanese brand name Aurex to store digitized images captured by a video camera. The picture below shows the two components of the digitizing-storing equipment. At the bottom is the digitizing unit and on the top is a regular cassette deck from the Aurex/TOSHIBA range (Aurex PC-X66AD) using a Compact Cassette as storage. 

aurex video

The last model we see here is an audio equipment, but this time it's a digital audio recorder that is using a Compact Cassette. This OPTONICA by SHARP unit was made by SHARP in 1985. The OPTONICA RT-X5 model was using a 9.5 cm/s speed to record digital audio in 14 bit / 44.1 kHz sampling frequency format. Aparently it was only a prototype.

optonica PCM compact cassette

The shown equipments only made it as prototype units but, the Compact Cassette was fairly popular in computer data storage systems, such as military aircrafts.....and that's classified information. 
(Hush hush, you haven't heard it from me)

Discover more about the Compact cassette reading the history of the first