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Walk down memory lane

As someone who uses some modern technology; I'm also a collector of vintage talking book technology (as well as other vintage electronics) and I thought I'd ask who remembers when talking books were issued on records?

I'm 35; so, obviously, I wasn't around in the "old days". However, I do remember the multi-colored record players from NLS that played the 8 rpm flexible disc books and magazines. These were made in the '70's; but, were still issued at least until the early '90's.

I actually became a user of NLS just as they were switching from records to cassette and they sent me one of the last record players, the model A1, with the tone arm that's pressed down and moved towards the record. They also had a version of this record player with a built-in cassette player.

Then, I was given one of the old grey wooden cased talking book record players from the '60's that uses a vacuum tube amplifier. This thing may be big and heavy; but, it's the best talking book record player that was ever issued and it will play 8, 16, and 33 rpm records. I don't think an atomic blast would destroy it.

I've also found some older machines from the '30's through the '50's; but, these will not play the newer 8 and 16 rpm records.

Of course, I have the standard old C1 cassette player and I think I've gone through 3 of them in the past 12 years. The nice thing is that the library will promptly send out a new one when the old one fails. About the only thing I get on cassette anymore is magazines. All my books are now on cartridges and I don't think I've gotten a cassette book in well over a year. I wonder how long it will be before magazine production is shifted to digital cartridges?

I have the basic NLS digital player for my digital book needs and, so far, it's held up well. Since it does not use any moving parts, it should be more reliable than the cassette machine.

And, I also have an old Sony TC105A APH-branded reel-to-reel tape recorder.

I like the convenience of digital books; but, I still don't mind breaking out the old record player and playing a talking book or magazine on it.

There are currently 4 replies


Re: Walk down memory lane



I remember those old talking book players well. I was sent one of them when my family and I first moved to Illinois in 1985. Do you remember the smell of those records? I remember it a little bit. I also had one of the cassette book machines at home, and my itinerant teachers at the time used one with me at school. But this was the other model, which seemed to be less common among the players for some reason. At least these other models weren't that common in Illinois. I now have a DTB player, which I admittedly haven't used much lately. But I really like it.


Re: Walk down memory lane



I remember some of the later flexible disc records having a certain odor. Back in the '80's and early '90's, most people I knew either had the green A79 record player or the beige A77 record player. They were basically the same record player, except for the case color that designated the model year of the player. I used to have an A71 record player that was in a big grey & white plastic case and I also used to have the first solid state model, the AE-5, that was in a two-tone blue plastic case. At present, the only solid state model I have is the A1 record player from the mid '90's. As far as cassette players, the only ones I remember are the model C1's and I knew one person who had an E1. The C1 has been the standard machine for 30+ years and the E1 is known as the "easy machine" that has a minimal number of controls for persons who may have difficulty using the standard machine. I suspect the C1 cassette player will be seeing very limited usuage because they just announced that magazines are shifting to digital cartridges by the end of the year; and, at present, magazines are the only material that I receive on cassette.


Re: Walk down memory lane



BTW, one major problem with those record players was that the foam turntable platter mat would start crumbling with age and little pieces of foam would stick to the records. Those mats had to be some type of foam or rubber material in order to keep flexible disc records from slipping on the turntable platter.


Re: Walk down memory lane



I was actually the owner of one of the last nls tape players around 2007, as my mom used sony tape recorders for her classes at the time (also, I still had my old tape collection from around 2003). my very last tape recorder/player was a table top cassette recorder/player I got from Perkins School for the blind around 2010.


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