Did your family have one of these?
After years of rejection and derision I am feeling nostalgic for the modern wizardry that was the 1960s stereogram. It really was a very practical piece with a place to keep your records, a radio and a turntable, which could be tucked away out of sight with a simple release of the lid.
It doesn’t surprise me that there’s a new appetite for these period features. Anyone still got one?
A little bit of history:
Back in the early 1960s, after years of grinding austerity in the immediate post-war period, life started to look a bit brighter. Many people saw their living standards improve dramatically and, with that, disposable income was on the increase too. A car, a TV set, a caravan, and maybe even an early package holiday were just some of the goodies a 1960s household could look forward to. And among these ‘must-haves’ there was the radio/stereogram – a really cool piece of crafted furniture housing the latest in audio and phonographic technology.
Often finely crafted by skilled cabinet makers, they featured modern turntables, three band radios (including the latest FM band, then called VHF), powerful amplifiers and speakers and, of course, ultimately stereo reproduction. To get one you went to an audio-visual dealer or department store and probably paid on the ‘never never’ – by HP (Hire Purchase) that is – what we would today call credit.
A state-of-the-art radiogram, provided a focal point for any newly furnished sitting room or parlour. Used on family get-togethers, holidays and special occasions, they reflected pride in the new materialism and consumerism. They announced ‘this family had arrived.’