Forums :: Resources :: Features :: Photo Gallery :: Vintage Radio Shows :: Archives :: Books
Support This Site: Contributors :: Advertise


It is currently Aug Sat 02, 2014 3:26 am


All times are UTC [ DST ]



Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 35 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: When and why did electronics stop being made as furniture?
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 7:48 pm 
New Member

Joined: Jul Thu 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 10
And I guess a companion question would be when did the black box school of design start--when everything started being packaged in an ugly, black plastic (in the case of TV's) case with no design to it. I know 1965 is the last year Fisher presents pictures on the internet of its various models in period cabinets, either traditional, moderne or period such as French Provincial. It seems like I can remember still seeing console machines as late as the 70's, but like everything else in the 70's they were fairly ugly and of poor quality--mostly Mediterranean with velvet looking speaker cloth. I can't think of anything over the last 20 years that has been sold contained in a beautiful piece of furniture.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 8:39 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 100
Location: Skaneateles NY
My Guess is Economics:

1. Cabinet work is labor intensive. Little in the way of productivity gains. The relative cost of the cabinet to the electronics gets ever higher (Baumol's cost disease http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baumol%27s_cost_disease

2. Inventory costs - many different styles of cabinets mean much higher inventory costs and also risk of dud styles.

3. More rapid rate of fashion change (in part because people could afford to change the living room for simply style purposes) . Have a colonial decor in 1952? Maybe in 1956 go to Danish Modern? What do you do with your functional 1952 colonial rig? ==> Easier [url] Buyers and sellers go more generic rectangular aka boring/ugly.

best...[/url]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 8:42 pm 
Moderator

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 15866
Location: Utica, NY 13502 (USA)
People today change their electronics much more often than they used to because of advancing technology, shorter lived components, greater flexibility or whatever. It doesn't make sense to build this stuff into expensive furniture. Usually some sort of "entertainment center" furniture is used so that equipment can be changed at will without having to get rid of the cabinetry.

Dave


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 9:18 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9518
Location: Chesapeake VA
We sold some nice console TVs at Sears well into the mid/latter '80s, robbed speakers from a top of the line curbside '85 LXI a few months ago...

Seems the nice console stereos were gone by the later 70s... Most of the later stereo console stuff was Soundesign, Electrophonic, etc or some other brand that was just plastic, shelf paper and particle board... Few had more than 6"-8" speakers with 2 oz magnets, and half pound of electronics...

Tom


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 10:24 pm 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 6815
Location: Warren, MI, USA 48093-6744 N42.50973 W83.02633
I have a friend that has an interesting (although no doubt cheap) 70's console stereo that for all intents and purposes looks like an end table. Actually they have it next to their sofa and have a lamp on it.

But open the doors and it is an AF/FM stereo with 8-track and it has a changer in a drawer you can pull out.

Cheesy, but they like it a lot.

I remember at the Extravaganza, two people had Atwater Kent Kiel tables for sale. I never saw one before in my life; now I've seen two.

_________________
The mind is like a parachute - just because you lost yours doesn't mean you can borrow mine.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 10:50 pm 
New Member

Joined: Jul Thu 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 10
Dave Doughty wrote:
People today change their electronics much more often than they used to because of advancing technology, shorter lived components, greater flexibility or whatever.Dave


Thanks! I do have a strong suspicion that people buy equipment for the sake of the equipment itself--I don't believe sound reproduction has improved much in the last 50 years--maybe in a miniscule technical sense, but not to the extent that it really enhances the listening pleasure. I think all the great advances were made from the 20's to the 50's, then everything beyond that is just a variation on the same themes. I'm easy to please, 'tho--I don't mind some background noise and such.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 11:23 pm 
Member

Joined: Jul Fri 24, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 29
Can't forget those Electrophonic consoles like the one my friend had. It had the cheezy velour type speaker cloth and plastic cabinet, etc. And OH!! those BOOOOOOMY bass notes with almost no high end at all!

Phil

P.S.

The electronics part of those consoles was mounted in one of the electronics racks up on Devil's Tower in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" I recognized it immediately the first time I saw the movie!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 11:46 pm 
Member

Joined: Jan Sun 04, 2009 6:43 pm
Posts: 1577
Mainly because people want the flexibility of separate components rather than all in one consoles. So the only furniture is the "entertainment center" wall unit or some such, into which you put your TV and audio system and speakers, etc.

You can change/upgrade one component without tossing the whole system. Easier and more practical.

Of course, radios stopped being sold in big console cabinets when TV took over. There are some great sounding (and looking) stereo equipment from the 70s/80s that came in wood cabinets. Just a box, but still wood.

I have some excellent Pioneer receivers, TEAC tape decks and big wood floor standing speakers from this period. If you think there was no improvement in sound reproduction since 1950 you are dreaming.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Fri 24, 2009 11:57 pm 
Member

Joined: Dec Sun 07, 2008 7:05 am
Posts: 4175
Location: MS
I know a few people that would have no problem replacing their $3000 2 year old flatscreen the minute something "better" is announced. And, much of the younger generation looks at cabinet TV's and stereo's as something owned by lower class people.

The newest console TV that I've seen was a 25" 2001 Zenith housed in a cheap particleboard and plastic cabinet. The newest TV/stereo combo that I've seen was an early '80's Curtis-Mathes and the newest console stereo that I've seen was a circa '79 Zenith. The cabinet was cheap and the electronics were not much better than something from a Soundesign, Yorx, Electrohome, etc.

I haven't seen a decent console stereo made after about 1973. In fact, many started going down the drain in the late '60's. I fixed a '70 RCA for a guy that was a decent stereo and Zenith and Magnavox made a few decent ones on up into the '70's; but, most everything else was junk.

What I find comical is the number of those junky '70's jobs that are being peddled on places like CL by sellers that think they are worth a mega fortune.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 12:17 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9518
Location: Chesapeake VA
I don't remember what year it is, but my mom bought a very nice Early American Sylvania console stereo with 8-Track(I'd already left home and that was Nov of '70)... Guessing it's '72-'73, I'll have to look at it next time I'm over at my sisters... Ma pawned it off on sis years ago, after I got her a 100W per channel rack system for Christmas in about '87... She still uses that several times a week...

Tom


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 12:52 am 
New Member

Joined: Jul Thu 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 10
philkb wrote:
Can't forget those Electrophonic consoles like the one my friend had. It had the cheezy velour type speaker cloth and plastic cabinet, etc. And OH!! those BOOOOOOMY bass notes with almost no high end at all!


Everything was transistor by that time, too.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:00 am 
New Member

Joined: Jul Thu 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 10
[quote="radiotvnut"]I haven't seen a decent______________made after about 1973.[/quote]

I think you can pick about any consumer item, insert it after the word "decent" and be pretty accurate in your statement.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:07 am 
Member

Joined: Jul Fri 24, 2009 3:52 pm
Posts: 29
If my memory serves me correctly, there were no actual power transistors, as we know them, in that Electrophonic system. I imagine the power output was barely a few watts, if that. The big cabinet helped boom up the bass notes and made it sound more poweful than it was.

Phil


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:11 am 
New Member

Joined: Jul Thu 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Posts: 10
I remember the first component system I ever saw and was tremendously impressed with it. My best friend's father was head of the Baylor religion department and built their first home in 1953. In about 1955 or 1956, he installed a system in the hall closet--I know the turntable was a Garrard Type A, but don't know what the amp was. It connected to built-in speakers in the living room and projected gorgeous sound. A couple of the albums were George Feyer Plays Cole Porter and George Feyer Plays Echoes of Paris. My favorite was Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians in Hi-Fi and I'd have him play Battle Hymn over and over. Only he and his son could play the system--his wife and daughter were not allowed to operate it. One track on the album was A Cigarette, Sweet Music and You. That track was never allowed to be played because it had the word "cigarette" in it, and no Rock 'N Roll records were ever bought or played on it.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:30 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Nov Thu 08, 2007 4:37 pm
Posts: 4388
Location: Central Georgia
After seeing the Koronette Fireplace stereo console/bar - the question is not "when and why".... but rather ..... why the heck did it take so long to stop???

Image

_________________
JG Jackson
"Uva Uvam Videndo Varia Fit"


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:34 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 507
Location: AUSTRALIA
I guess when "stereo" and "surround sound" became the norm, the one-piece furniture item with integrated speakers became "dead in the water" pretty quickly?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 1:40 am 
Member

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 507
Location: AUSTRALIA
Quote:
After seeing the Koronette Fireplace stereo console/bar - the question is not "when and why".... but rather ..... why the heck did it take so long to stop???


Ditto. What have fireplaces and drink cabinets got to do with radios? Another one I don't get is the "radio in the grandfather clock" idea.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 2:11 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9518
Location: Chesapeake VA
golfguru wrote:
Quote:
After seeing the Koronette Fireplace stereo console/bar - the question is not "when and why".... but rather ..... why the heck did it take so long to stop???


That thing is for the affluent wannabes...

Tom


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 3:26 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Sep Tue 09, 2008 4:31 am
Posts: 2380
Location: Surry, VA
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= ... mQfsu92OBA


Suppose that could count...

_________________
William D.

Saving America's acoustical history, one phonograph at a time..


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Jul Sat 25, 2009 4:22 am 
Member
User avatar

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 3295
Location: WI 54812
golfguru wrote:

Ditto. What have fireplaces and drink cabinets got to do with radios? Another one I don't get is the "radio in the grandfather clock" idea.


Maybe they all help set the mood for a different kind of entertainment? :lol:

Not sure about the clock theory.

Kevin


Top
 Profile  
 
Post New Topic Post Reply  [ 35 posts ]  Moderators: sofaslug, Paul Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jaychis, Yahoo [Bot] and 11 guests



Search for:
Jump to:  



















Privacy Policy :: Powered by phpBB