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Monday, June 22, 2009

Techno Granny Show Notes, Technology Teenagers Don't Know About the Sixties

This show was originally broadcast live from TAlkShoe at 7 AM EDT on June 22, 2009. You can listen to the archived version at:

The Answering Machine

Kazuo Hashimoto Invents the Ansafone sold in the USA as an Automatic Telephone Answering Machine

Weather Satellite

The United States launches the first weather satellite, TIROS-1.

Chatty Cathy

First popular talking doll, spoke 11 random phrases at the pull of a string. The original voice was June Foray who also did the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel in the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons

Chatty Cathy

First popular talking doll, spoke 11 random phrases at the pull of a string. The original voice was June Foray who also did the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel in the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons

1960 Toys & Gadgets

The Brits successfully enter the American toy market with Legos.


High tech toy writing and drawing instrument from France

More Gadgets

The Modem
Bell Telephone Laboratories invent the modem using the binary code patented by Jean-Emile Baudot in 1874.

The Laser
Theodore Maiman uses a synthetic ruby to build first true laser.

Teflon Non-sticking cookware goes on sale at Macy's in New York

The Hologram
Heart Pacemaker
The Copy Machine

The Rank Xerox Standard 1385 copying machine went to market, Huge toner cartridges and took two men to carry at least.

The original See 'n Say required no batteries and was driven by pulling a string or lever. The most popular version of See 'n Say is probably the one entitled "The Farmer Says"

Mary Quant (far right) designs the Mini Skirt which appears in London and becomes the fashion statement of the 60's.

Operation - Invented by John Spinello. A battery-operated game testing hand-eye co-ordination. Made by Milton Bradley it is still in production.

Transistor Radios
In the sixties every teenager had to have a transistor radio. They were just like mobile phones are today - cheap, colourful and highly desirable. You could have music and news on the move. They were the passport to the modern world and showed that you were part of the "with it" generation. People in Third World countries would save hard to get one. Quality was often low, but you could not be part of the Swinging Sixties without one.
Phillips E3300 cassette tape recorder
This was the world's first cassette tape recorder. It came complete with a microphone so that you could record your own voice. The E3300 was a high quality and expensive product. I can testify to the quality since I still use one today

Samsonite Attache Case
In the sixties, the Samsonite Classic attaché case was one of the coolest business accessories out. It was definitely an attaché case and not a brief case. This case was carried by secret agents, including Michael Caine in "Funeral in Berlin" (1966) . No self respecting 60s executive could be without one.

Parker 61
This pen had a special capillary filling mechanism with no moving parts. You simply unscrewed the barrel and placed the filler upside down in an ink bottle and the ink soaked up. In practice they performed poorly and often clogged up. Go for a later model with a cartridge filler if you want a more usable pen.
Instant photography

The Polaroid Swinger provided instant pictures. You did not have to send them off to be developed. This camera was launched in 1966 in the UK. It must have been a hit at Christmas. The name was very much in keeping with the spirit of the decade. Photographs were only black and white, but then so was television. It also had a slot for flash cubes - remember those?

Bulova Accutron

They didn't have quartz watches in the sixties, although they did have electronic watches. The Bulova Accutron, which used a miniature tuning fork to regulate the movement, was one of the first. Some of the first models were made without the face so that salesmen could demonstrate the movement to customers. The idea was so cool that it caught on and Accutrons were sold without the face. These watches were known as "Space view". .

Money and Inflation 1960's

To provide an estimate of inflation we have given a guide to the value of $100 US Dollars for the first year in the decade to the equivalent in todays money
If you have $100 Converted from 1960 to 2005 it would be equivalent to $679.09 today

In 1960 a new house cost $12,700.00 and by 1969 was $15,500.00

In 1960 the average income per year was $5,315.00 and by 1969 was $8,540.00

In 1960 a gallon of gas was 25 cents and by 1969 was 35 cents

In 1960 the average cost of new car was $2,600.00 and by 1969 was $3,270.00

A few more prices from the 60's and how much things cost
Volkswagon beetle $1,769 From Car Prices in the 60's

Ford Mustang 2 door hardtop $2368

Misses Swinging Shifts Skirts $5.00 From Prices for clothes and fashions in the 60's

Oxford mens Shoes $12.95

Automatic Can Opener $8.88 From Electrical and Electronic Prices in the 60's

Cash Dispenser ----- 1969 Turkey by Luther Simjian
CCDs ----- 1969 USA Charge Coupled Device - to capture image
Communication Satellite ----- 1962 USA Telstar
Computer Mouse ----- 1964 USA by Douglas Engelbart
Fibre Optics ----- 1966 England by Charles Keo and George Hockham
Heart Pacemaker ----- 1960 USA by Wilson Greatbatch
Human Space Travel ----- 1961 Russia Yuri Gagarin - the first human in space
Hypertext ----- 1965 USA for linking text
Internet ----- 1969 USA US military
Kevlar ----- 1966 USA by Stephanie Kwolek
Laser ----- 1960 USA by Theodore Maiman
LEDs ----- 1962 USA Light Emitting Diodes - used for displays
Manned Moon Landing ----- 1969 USA Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin walk on Moon
Moon Landing ----- 1966 Russia Luna 9 lands softly on the Moon
Optical Disk ----- 1965 USA by James Russell - now Compact Disk CD / DVD History of Hifi and Music Players and Media
Portable Calculator ----- 1967 USA Texas Instruments
Space Docking ----- 1966 USA Gemini VIII docks with an orbiting satellite
Space Walk ----- 1965 Russia Aleksei Leonov - first person outside space vehicle
Tape Cassette ----- 1963 Netherlands
Venus Probe ----- 1962 USA Mariner 2 - the first planetary probe
Weather Satellite ----- 1960 USA Tiros I

History of Hi-Fi Music Players and Media

Before MP3s….before compact discs…even before cassette tapes….there was hi-fi. Short for “high fidelity,” this is the term given to a high-quality reproduction of sounds or images. With a hi-fi recording, the sound that is reproduced sounds much like the original sound or recording with no excess noise or sound distortion. Hi-fi technology was most popular during the 1960s and 1970s, but the background for it began in the 1920s with the production of microphones and other electronic amplification devices. After World War II, companies began making improvements in sound quality and recording equipment. As a result, the hi-fi technology was the preferred (and basically the only) method for recreating high-quality sound reproductions.

One of the first hi-fi recorders was a reel-to-reel machine. Developed during the early 1940s, the reel-to-reel machine created high-quality recordings with a much better fidelity than any other recording instrument. The technology for reel-to-reel machines was found after World War II. Based on technology from Germany, the reel-to-reel machine was used to create superior copies of recordings to distribute to the public. It basically used a magnetic recording tape that was wrapped around one reel with the end attached to an adjacent reel. As it recorded, the tape was wound onto the second reel. You can think of it is a large cassette tape, but with better sound quality.

As a leader in the recording industry, Bing Crosby helped to market the reel-to-reel machine as a popular means to create quality recordings of performances. The need for hi-fi also arose because of movies with sounds – “talkies.” Audiences wanted high-quality sound to be pumped through the speakers in the theater to help them have a pleasant movie experience. Even today, many people praise the sound quality of the reel-to-reel machine and its ability to produce high fidelity recordings. During the first few years when it was popular, a reel-to-reel machine could cost consumers between $200-400 and they can still be purchased for approximately that amount today because of their collectible nature.

The next major breakthrough in the hi-fi technology was the long-playing record. Although the 12-inch discs were created by Peter Goldmark in the late 1940s, their popularity did not take off until the mid-1950s. One of the major advantages of this product was that it was made of vinyl rather than the other materials that they were previously made with. As a result of using vinyl, the grooves in the record could be smaller which enabled manufacturers and record companies to put more music on one side of an album. With vinyl records, you could enjoy a half hour of music per side. The vinyl also recorded and produced a much richer and cleaner sound that its previous counterparts. For this reason, it was very popular among classical music fans who enjoyed the lack of scratches and other fuzzy noises with their listening enjoyment.

These new larger discs played at 33 1/3 RPMs (revolutions per minute) which also helped contain more material on each side. With its popularity, it has become the primary use for recording and listening to music in the 20th century. Even today, many popular musical acts release vinyl LPs for people who continue to enjoy this medium. Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy album in the late 1990s is just one of many examples of this. Throughout the 1960s, you could buy a vinyl LP for less than $2.00. Today, however, most of them cost over $10.00 and some could cost thousands depending on how rare it is.

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