70’s Gadgets

Yesterday we took a trip down to memory lane and talk about the most important gadgets that were launched in the 90s and 80s. Today we will go back further in time and see what happened in the 70s in terms of electronics.

1970s Color TV (Source: media.azpm.org)

1970s Color TV (Source: media.azpm.org)

We begin with the early 70s when the color TV started becoming more and more popular among households. Initially, the price tag for a color TV set was a whopping $3,500 (adjusted for inflation). In 1972 color TVs outnumbers black & white ones in the United States for the very first time. Americans started watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Happy Days and MASH in color.

In 1972 Pioneer introduced the Music Center which allowed people to record radio and records on to a cassette tape. This was the time when people became household DJs by creating mix-tapes of The Rolling Stones, Elton John and The Bay City Rollers.

In the beginning of the 70s only 50% of people living in the U.S. had a phone. In 1973 the dial telephone was introduced, allowing more and more homes to own such a product.

Before the Cambridge Calculator was launched in 1974, the people who had access to calculators were those who worked in institutions and large business centers. Up until then, these calculators were hard to operate, large, and most of all, expensive. Once Clive Sinclair launched this calculator, more and more people started to afford one.

One year later, the household freezer saw the light of the day. When these were introduced, only about 3% of households had one but soon enough more than half of Americans owned one. When they came out, their price tag (converted in today’s money) was about $1,000.

The history of gaming wouldn’t have been the same if Atari didn’t launch the 2600 back in 1977. Kids no longer had to go spend money at the arcade room in order to play Pong because with this console the game was available at home. Usually, the Atari 2600 came with two joystick controllers, a cartridge game and a conjoined pair of paddle controllers. At first, the bundled game was Combat and after that the console was shipped with Pac-Man.

Apple II Computer (Source: oldcomputers.net)

Apple II Computer (Source: oldcomputers.net)

We end this article with the year 1977 when Apple launched the Apple II Computer which as most of you probably already knew this by now was the first successful PC. It was able to bring computing power into the household and most importantly it was available to the masses. The first units were powered by a MOS Technology 6520 microprocessor clocked at 1 MHz and had 4 kB of RAM. For storage it featured a 5 1/4 floppy drive. Price? About $1,300.