Being born in 1972 gave me a unique experience of seeing the technology revolution that we have lived with over the past 4 decades first hand. I have lived through the birth, growth and decline of the personal computer, I have been through 4 evolutions of music portability and have witnessed the first hand the power of mobile communications explode before my very eyes. But Throwback Thursday is all about Tech that I really loved and miss deeply, this week I look to the Walkman. For me in 1985, completing middle school and seeing my friends with this portable cassette player for the first time, I knew that I had to have one!
The Walkman and the numerous imitators (that were often far more affordable) were all the craze throughout the 80’s. It meant for me as a teenager I did not have to have my stereo blaring (although I still did) and I could take my mixed tapes with me anywhere I wanted.
I had amassed a rather substantial cassette collection over the years that until recently had lived in a box in the basement collecting dust because I had no way to listen to the music of my youth (It is surprisingly hard to find a cassette player these days).
The cassette itself was a thing of beauty and despite only having a maximum of 90 minutes and the time it would take to fast forward or rewind to find a song you wanted…it was such an amazing innovation…until disaster would strike:
This happened to me more often than I would like to remember, usually at the worst of times and the only real solution was to bring in another bit of almost forgotten technology:
The Walkman in all its glory though was a shining example of the miniaturization of the bits of tech that make our world today possible. I remember distinctly carrying around my Walkman and no less than 4 tapes everywhere I went. It was with me on my way to my first job, the short walk to school, late night study sessions and each night when I went to bed.
While I miss the simplicity of what made the Walkman work, the coming of the CD and then the MP3 meant that not only had the Cassette and the Walkman been eclipsed…there would be no coming back for it either as it was now outdated and the CD (and the portable CD player) would be the king for some time.