A once common yet unseen device

From Techmoan.

I’ve used one of these – most people I know have too, yet this is the first time I’ve seen one.
When it comes to the joy of watching things working, the Kinetic appeal of this is up there with a Lava Lamp.

00:00 Start
00:51 What it did
02:58 A look inside
05:14 What’s on it?
08:22 This is what.
09:54 FAQs Answered
14:12 Credits

If you want to watch an hour of tape looping – here’s the video https://youtu.be/fYVZ7GQhW3Y

Massive thanks to Neil for supplying this rare Machine.

FAQ) How did the machine know where the start of the announcement was? Did it use a foil splice or a cue tone – or was it something else?
A) It’s just a loop of tape with an announcement repeated a number of times which has then been stuck together at the end with normal splicing tape to form a loop. No metal foil. No auto-triggering pulses. Just a simple repeated audio recording on a loop of tape.
I double checked with Neil who dealt with these things for a living and he confirmed that there was ‘nothing clever going on, it was just a plain old loop of tape’.
A caller ringing up would just start the machine playing back from the point at which the tape last stopped moving. That would more often than not be some way into an announcement.
However back in the 1980s this was something we were very accustomed to. You’d ring up and if you heard an announcement you waited until it looped around back and started repeating and then you’d hang up. I remember doing this. It was only in the age of digital recording technology that we came to expect BT announcements to always start right from the beginning.

Q) What kind of tape did this use
A) Standard 1/4" tape. A helpful commenter mentioned that he used to record the announcements for these on a ReVox B77. Neil told me that in his job they received reels of the tape with the announcements pre recorded. They would splice off the amount they needed for the machines and then they threw the rest of the reel away. As a young apprentice when he saw how much tape was being binned – he went and bought himself a reel to reel tape recorder so he could save it from the bin to re-use at home. So yes it’s totally normal R2R tape, it’ll be one mil and a harder wearing variety. It might look a bit odd in the video – perhaps thicker than normal, but that’s most likely because it’s hardened up a bit over the decades of being stored off a roll in the top of a machine in a garage.

Q) What’s the video I made when I talked about cassette duplication
A) This one https://youtu.be/I0beJZaOUYM

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Regularly asked question
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