Chrysler’s in-car phonograph

Posted: February 17, 2007 in creativity
Tags: ,

56desoto

Another nice post from crave. Referring to the the same mob’s CNET Car Tech channel, they report on an old, short-lived car-audio technology: an in-car phonograph. Apparently, according to an article on the UAW-DaimlerChrysler National Training Center Web site, these record players, made by Columbia and offered as options on 1956 Chrysler, DeSoto, Dodge, and Plymouth models, could handle 45-speed records as well as 7-inch records in the new 16-2/3 format. The players were installed on a slide-out turntable beneath the dash and hidden behind a drop-down door that could be opened at the push of a button. Drivers could switch between the radio tuner and the phonograph with the flip of a switch and use the same volume and equalizer controls for both sources. A forerunner to cassette and later CD/DVD/mp3 players.

The technology though had a few problems. Records skipped as the car encountered uneven surfaces (even though, if I recall correctly, portable record players existed – but I guess, they would have been handled more gently than a car on a bumpy road ;-) ). And, not unlike record company practices today, an exclusive content arrangement with Columbia meant that drivers could listen only to artists signed to Columbia Records. According to the UAW Web site, the option initially lasted for only one model year, and despite resurgence a couple of year later, it was finally abandoned.

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