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8-Track equipment from the not too distant future.
Were on the eve of a new millennium and frankly Im disappointed. I came of age at a time when the future was seen as a magical place of hope, convenience and gracious living. In 1999 we were suppose to be able to take day trips to the moon and visit resorts on Mars. By now I should be living in a giant plastic geodesic dome where everything is self-sufficient and I could control the outside weather. Then Id be whisked away to anywhere in the world in the transporter pod from my silver lookout deck.
This section focuses on 8-track players made by designers who also shared this vision. 8-track tape production may have sadly ended but these evocative pieces still pay homage to a dream that may never be realized.
Welton 2001 Space Helmet
This AM/FM 8-track Sci-Fi Hifi is shaped like a volleyball and has several great features like a fixed base that allows it to rotate and for those who really want that moon effect. The top of the player has a chrome eyelet that with some strong fishing line can be mounted on the ceiling. Put on the soundtrack of 2001 to make the effect complete. It also comes in a Sun Yellow and a Mars Orange.
Dont be fooled by the name this player has nothing to do with water. Its cream colored and in the shape of one of those head mannequins that wigs come with. The control panel looks like a spaceships instrument gauge. Each of the program selections has a different color orange, yellow, blue and green. A clone of this was made in Canada called the Planetron.
SL Stereo 8
Dont know much about this machine. Its an AM/FM 8-track and is designed like one of those revolving restaurants that most large cities have. The black Plexiglas shield opens up for tape access. I bet George Jetson wooed Jane with one of these.
Panasonic Pump a.k.a.Dynamite,Plunger
This little portable came in red, yellow, blue, and a rare smoked plexiglas variations decades before the IMAC. Its beauty is in its design: a single volume control, a faux large speaker grill that hides a 2 inch diameter one and a detonator handle that changes tracks. Great for the on the go jet setter and it even sports a port for a carjack attachment that plugs into the cigarette lighter.
And one whose design became a reality
The G.E. Powersound
This Karaoke prototype has an attachment for a microphone in the front and a mic volume control on the side. Looking at it with the shoulder strap I can vision some drunk guy at a party wearing it with a lampshade on his head that everyone else is trying to avoid.
Prominent Model TCM-5000
This one can do everything but make coffee it comes in 3 pieces with a digital clock radio on the front that allows you to plug in a phonograph for the audiophile. I got it for $25 at a pawn shop and the guy could have been a used car salesman but with a few well placed lies and terms dropped like worn "capstan" and burned out "program lights" (they're temperamental) he changed his tune. It will probably end up in the "egg room".