Wednesday, March 24, 2010

when new things are actually old...







recently noticed an article on the great music blog disquiet about an advertising promo piece in the form of a record player made out of cardboard... you can see it in the top image, and also take a peek at with more info here

i wasn't quite sure if i should bash the thing for its faux "new invention" or give it props since it involves a vinyl record, but everything about it seemed too familiar to ignore, and after a few minutes of scouring the archives, i was able to locate the precendent...

pictured is a phonograph, coloring book and record contraption made by the barker greeting card company in 1955. this thing was quite an invention - a simple cardboard covered book with a tiny "needle" (that seems like a nail), and a rivet to hold a 7"record that could freely spin upon it. the record also has a tiny hole in it so you can turn it with a pencil... replicating the cranking activity of an old gramophone. its ingenuity and simple materials is worthy of tim hawkinson's work.

if you look at the picture of the new version, you will see that even the pencil turning mechanism has been cribbed from the 1955 version - not to mention the inclusion in the new version of a kid's record as well... so it seems hardly a coincidence of the design minded.

what this little story shows us is that all "new" ideas aren't necessarily new at all, and if you think you got there first, you probably got there third or fourth... or maybe it is that if you arrive third or fourth but you are quiet about precedent and wait long enough for the first to be forgotten, people will re-discover your old as new...

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Blogger Hugo Verweij said...

Hi there,

Nice blog you have! I would like to contact you, but I can't find an email address on your site. What is the best way to get in contact? Thanks a advance!


3:09 PM  
Blogger sroden said..., go to the contact page.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should search for "cardtalk"

7:04 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

thanks for the cardtalk link, it seems those were developed in the early 1960's, although it also seems from here:

that there was a patent for something similar in the early 1950's, and there are images of other patents on various designs.

i'm sure these cheap mechanisms were used for kids toys,novelties, advertising gimmicks, and in cardtalk's case, as an evangelical tool, as well as who knows what else... i think the toy-coloring book version i posted was probably the first to jazz itself up with graphics and try to enter mainstream five and dime / toy store culture...

7:43 AM  
Anonymous jim supanick said...

I like your blog very much!

And here's yet another context where this same technology appeared, in a documentary about evangelical missionaries(which I highly recommend) called "The Tailenders" by Adele Horne. Follow this link, as it explains its use more clearly than I ever could within this little box...

10:09 AM  

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