In Alan Ward's "A Manual of Sound Archive Administration" there are
references to the beginnings of the audio cassettes or "encased 'talking
books'" (p.163) beginning with RCA's 1958 cassette system, followed by
Garrard in 1959, and then CBS in 1961.
I am seeking additional information on any other cassette formats in these
transitional years 1960-1970 before the Philips compact cassette and the
8-track tape become standards in the market. I have not been able to find
much more than Ward's introduction.
Ward goes on to state "expert knowledge of obsolete cassette types is
unlikely to enjoy much application as the chance of finding a compatible
machine is remote and only a small minority were used in any quantity for
other than prerecorded commercial releases" (p171). Be that as it may, I am
currently developing a pictorial guide to audio formats that I hope to go
beyond the commonplace formats (much like my guide to videotape formats at
This information will be presented at the Sound Savings preservation
conference in Austin next month, so any leads on other obsolete cassette
formats would be greatly appreciated (and acknowledged).
Smithsonian Institution Archives
MRC 414 Room 2135 A&I
202-357-1421 x 56 (telephone)
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