ImageCassette recorders were a new form of technology forty years ago. Invented ten years earlier, these handy cartridges became ubiquitous  until digital technology overtook them. Though my family had a portable open reel machine, the cassette recorder gave us kids the joy of recording without the frustration of threading tape.

Mom bought the machine originally to record my dad’s tirades. She planned to use the cassettes as evidence of his abuse of her. As with the open reel machine, we children ended up playing with that recorder.

Along with the machine came a C-15 demonstration cassette. We listened to the handful of tunes recorded on it, then began making our own recordings on the blank side. We avoided taping over the music for a while but soon our impatience for more space made us use the entire tape.

When Mom bought some C-90 cassettes, like the one in the picture, we really had fun. Those long tapes gave us plenty of room for our foolery. Even so, they eventually filled up.

I also began a tape letter correspondence with a friend who I met while visiting the city of Calgary in 1973. It lasted for a few months until my friend stopped sending back the tapes. I suppose the novelty wore off.

Mom never did use those recordings of my father going ballistic. We eventually taped over them. Our enthusiasm for the cassette recorder eventually wore it out. After it mangled a few tapes, we stopped using it.

Though I enjoy taping on cassettes, the machines are now hard to come by. I’ve been buying them whenever I found any for sale. My hope is that I can listen to my recordings for years to come.

I wrote about the open reel recorder and the fun we had with it in my Deliverance from Jericho book. Please visit my Bruce Atchison’s books link, at the top left of my Blogspot page, for more info.


Author: bruce Atchison - author

I'm a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of three memoirs and scores of articles. Contact me for details.


  1. Cassettes are becoming more and more obsolete now that more people are buying CDs or downloading music on mp3 files. I used to listen to talking books on cassette. Now, I use digital cartridges or download books and transfer them to my Victor Reader Stream for listening. I still correspond with a couple of people via cassette.

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