Image from: http://anarchivism.org/w/How_to_Rip_VHS
With the announcement of the end of production of the Video Cassette Radio (VCR) player this month we look at other products made by the plastics industry that have been replaced and succeeded by new technology. We also look at some that have survived!!
First up…The VHS
The injection moulded Polycarbonate plastic, Digital Video Disk (DVD) released in 1995, meant consumers had access to a higher quality picture and sound. Coupled with the developments in TV recoding from Sky+, TiVo and Virgin Media, the need and want for Video dwindled. It was 12 years ago that Dixons phased out sales of VCR players and they are also a name to have disappeared from our highstreets. Some will never know what it was like to have a video chew up inside the player, food or other random objects being posted into the player and finally (thankfully), no small hands being pushed into the letterbox sized cassette hole.
(The VHS cassette was made from a Polypropylene plastic shell, which in the case of Sony was vacuum formed. This then housed its Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tape)
Image from: http://www.thevhsconverter.com/shop/4578617103/vhs-tape-to-dvd/5516569
Next up, the Floppy Disk!
The small square plastic container made from Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which housed its flimsy disk and protected it from damage. In its day it was the only way to store and exchange data you had created on your giant chunky computer. This enabled you to take it with you and share it. Due to small storage space and developments in software, the creation of the re-writable CD and the rise of the USB flash drive allowed consumers to store larger sizes of data in a more portable device. The floppy disk is no longer a commonly used way to store data, although it is still used for some systems in manufacturing…..CNC machines for example. The younger generations have been heard to refer to a floppy disk as a ‘3D printed save icon’…..which to them, it is. To those of us who used a floppy disk, we know the real reason the save icon is that little square.
For some this will bring back warm fond memories, the Walkman !! (You cool kids!) or more importantly in this case the ‘Tape’!!
A trademark of the Japanese giants Sony…..the Walkman allowed consumers to listen to their cassette tapes while on the move it offered ‘privatised personalisation.’ The cassette tape (or tape) was a small polyester type plastic case that housed the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) tape. You could buy them pre-recorded or blank versions which allowed you to record. Consumers used them in dictaphones and many used them to record their favourite radio stations. It is also where the term ‘mix tape’ originates from as many users made a compilation of their favourite songs, a popular gift to give to someone you cared about (Hands up if you made one with mushy songs for your crush). You couldn’t skip a track you had to fast forward or rewind and hope you didn’t go too far. Also it could at times get chewed up in the player so you had to rewind it by hand with a bic biro pen. Similarly, to the Video Cassette, the tape is another product that has been replaced, in this case by the Compact Disc (CD).
This then naturally lead to the creation of the Discman. The portable disc player. Which did pretty much everything the Walkman did however you couldn’t move around with it too much because the movement would move the disc inside causing it to skip. Later models fixed this but many will remember trying to be steady while playing their CD.
Image from: http://www.unicornfilms.net/audio-tapes-to-cd.html
‘I’m a survivor, I’m not gonna give up…..’
While CD’s are used less they are still being sold and used. Sometimes you can’t beat holding your music instead of downloading it.
Vinyl, the (originally Shellac) polyvinyl chloride disc was released in 1948 then dropped from mainstream markets in 1991. It has seen increasing sales year on year since 2009. It may be old but it’s still cool. With new artists such as: Adele, Sam Smith and Kendrick Lamar releasing their music on Vinyl for the mainstream markets.
While our tastes as consumers may change, technology adapts and evolves, some products that were once the object of desire will become a memory. Luckily for many of our customers and us also, the plastics industry will continue to grow as new products replacing old will still need to be made from similar materials.
So it’s farewell to the VCR, hello to the new exciting products (some with the need for more inserts though….cheeky product plug!).
Image from: https://wallpaperscraft.com/tag/vinyl/3840×2160
Contact us today for any information or help you need with choosing the right plastic or threaded inserts for your current and future projects.