When I started buying blank tape for recording in 1961, I was advised to
buy Scotch. I always did, and they all play perfectly today. I was told that
Irish was "junk" and never used it. However, some years ago I got a collection of
tapes made between 1956 and 1960, some made on Irish, and they play perfectly
too. Could Irish have been better quality tape in those days than later?
A fair number of those in the collection are also on Audiotape, which plays
perfectly today as well. Also, did the big manufacturers sell tape to
lower-cost retailers? We in Chicago used to have a place called Newark Radio (on
Madison Street). A big place. They sold their own brand of tape. I bought and used
a lot of it for my radio projects because it was cheap. I've played some of
those circa 1965 tapes recently and they sound perfectly good. Someone told me
that Newark bought tape from 3M (Scotch) and repackaged it.
I should add that all of those tapes are Mylar-based, as were mine. We know
what happens to acetate-based tapes. I was warned away from them, beginner
that I was.
I second Steve Smolian and others who would like to see some kind of
information base about tape manufacturers and the quality of their product over the
On Fri, 9 Sep 2005, David Lennick wrote:
> By the way, I picked up a number of used reels of Kodak tape (7", 1.5 mil
> acetate) when CKEY disposed of them in 1970, and while I found them all to be a
> bit curly and prone to breaking, I've never encountered that vinegary smell on
> any of them.
> Looking at my shelves, I see a lot of odd brands from the 60s..RCA (generally
> considered to be pretty awful at the time, and I never hear anything about it
> today), Sarkes Tarzian (even worse..the oxide kept coming loose from the
> backing and winding itself around the capstan), Burgess (I don't think this
> lasted too long), and American....best thing about their tape, which came in
> odd lengths, was the ad showing Beethoven yelling "It's no use..I can't write a
> 1200-foot symphony!"
I have about a dozen reels of Kodak, which I bought new...just about every
problem you have ever encountered...however, I wonder if Kodak actually
made the tape. My guess is that someone on this list could probably
provide a compilation of who made what...
Audiotape (much of which seemed to be like Scotch 111)
Concertape (sold by Radio Shack) a wide variety of formulations...as a
kid, all I could afford.
Radio Shack brand (those red and white boxes)
Was not Irish factory seconds of Scotch? And then there was the company
that recycled Ampex which I believe they said had been used by the
Did not IBM in the early years use tape from 3M?
I don't recall that the Magnetic Recording Handbook has much history in
it...my copy is at home.
Does anyone know of a published history which would trace all of the
various manfacturers and brands?