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The days when clock radios were cutting edge

Posted on 15 January 2016

Wired for sound and getting busy with the fizzy

Looking back now it might seem like the 70s were all about bad haircuts, trousers so wide they’d trip you up and everything, I mean everything, in a gorgeous shade of brown or orange. And then we had the eighties with our first lady prime minister, big hair, even bigger shoulder pads and the yuppies.

But make no mistake, in technology terms, the 70s and 80s were great decades. This was the era that gave us the mobile phone, home computer and even the cassette player. Let’s have a look at some of the great gadgets and gizmos that we all knew and loved.

Cassette player

Every Sunday we listened to the Top 40 with a finger poised ready to record our favourite tunes. It went well until the budgie started chirping or mum called you for dinner.

1980s-toploading-cassette-player

Source: st33.wordpress.com

 

Video games console

If you had an Atari console with the tennis game Pong, you were the envy of the street. There was nothing more exciting than black and white graphics and that sound.

Atari-games-console

Source: www.flickr.com

 

Walkman

With this 80s equivalent of the iPod you really were wired for sound. Now you could listen to music on the bus, while out jogging or even roller-skating in your leg warmers.

Early-ad-for-a-Sony-Walkman

cultureandcommunication.org

 

Home computer

Like something from Tomorrow’s World, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum let us play games like Chuckie Egg and Football Manager.

Sinclair-Spectrum-personal-computer-box

Source: www.flickr.com

 

Video recorder

Whether you were a VHS or Beta Max family, you could record Top of the Pops and watch Abba over and over again – or even borrow films to watch from shops full of them. Mind blowing.

Sony-BetaMax-Video-recorder

Source: www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk

 

Digital watch

Everyone had one in the 80s. You could even get them free in cereal packets sometimes. The best ones had lots of buttons that had to be pressed in seemingly random combinations.

Casio-digital-watch

Source: vintagedigitalwatches.com

 

Calculator

The first pocket-sized calculators came out in the 70s and pretty soon we were allowed to use them at school to spell out upside down rude words on the screen. Happy days.

1970s-HP35-pocket-calculator

Source: en.wikipedia.org

 

Clock radio

Everyone either woke up to an annoying digital beep or the sound of a crazy Radio 1 disc jockey. But the best bit was the snooze button. Just another 5 minutes…

Radio-alarm-clock-on-bedside-table
Source: www.flickr.com

 

Soda stream

If you thought having pop delivered by the Alpine man was great, imagine being able to ‘get busy with the fizzy’ at home and have all the cherryade you could want on tap.

1970s-SodaStream-machine-and-bottles

Source: www.invaluable.com

 

Mobile phone

Yuppies everywhere clamoured to get one. Only they could, because they cost thousands. They were hardly portable but we knew the future had arrived and it was shaped like a brick.

80s-businessman-on-huge-mobile-phone

Source: siteset.digital

 

What are your best memories of technology when you were a kid? Were you a Pong champion? Did you save for months to get your first digital watch, or maybe you still use the same clock radio to this day? We’d love to hear your stories.

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