Ron Bergquist visited me in my office earlier today & gave me a 4-track player & a tape. The player is the very one in the photo here (was there ever more than one model of 4-track player manufactured?); the tape is Otis Redding The Dock of the Bay. Why did he give this to me? Probably to get the damn thing out of his house. Also because I seem to be developing a mini museum of obsolete technologies in my office. I have punch cards, though these are actually not all that difficult to come across in the more obscure books in an academic library. (The real trick is to find a book that hasn’t been taken out in so long that it doesn’t have a bar code in it, so that to check the thing out you have to wait while the librarian goes through the whole process of associating the bar code with the OPAC record. When it’s an undergrad intern at the circ desk this tends to really blow their circuits.) I have a 5Â¼-inch diskette, a vacuum tube, a slide rule, even an Edison cylindrical phonograph. Somewhere I even have a 3Â½-inch diskette that’s a DOS boot disk… manufactured by Apple. And now a 4-track player & cassette. The most amazing thing about the 4-track — other than the fact that Ron had it at all — is the condition. The thing had the Owner’s Guide & a power cord to plug into a car cigarette lighter, stashed in the battery receptacle. No batteries in the thing, fortunately; they would no doubt have leaked acid a long time ago. There’s also a rather amusing sticker in the battery receptacle: warranty void Aug 1969.
You may be sorry you posted this, Jeff. You could end up “collecting” all kinds of things. For example had I known, I would have given you my 1966 Zenith AM/FM clock radio, which still had memories of Santa’s visit, but it wasn’t picking up a signal anymore. It was sad to trash it as I did last week. And yes, I consider that big plastic Zenith box to be as high-tech as your average four-track.