Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Bell & Howell Film Cassette Projector

Bh01Yesterday I wrote a post about a camera that used film loaded into magazines.  Of course once your film came back from the drug store, it came on a conventional 8mm reel to thread up on your projector.  Along the way there were also several attempts to have projectors use special cassettes that simplified loading the projector and was thought to make home movie making even more accessible.

Here is a Bell & Howell Multi-Motion Movie 8 Cassette Projector (who names these things?).  It looks pretty much like other dual 8mm/super8 projectors from the 1960's, Bh02but the feed reel is replaced by a socket for the special film cassette.  The idea is that you'd load up all of your home movies into special cassettes ahead of time, then just snap one in on home movie night and the show begins faster and easier than ever.

I haven't actually used this projector yet, so I can't say for certain how well the system  works.  However, other cassette based film devices I have are mostly a pain to use (all that pre-loading of film gets really old, and I probably don't even need to say that they're not inter-compatible). 

Bh03Projector cassettes seem to be a solution in search of a problem - I don't think that it's the threading up of the projector that kept people from making home movies.  The fact that these formats are a rarity today is testimony to how uninteresting the idea was to amateur filmmakers.  Then again, making this crucial step a little easier would make for smoother running on movie night, and allow your guests less time to make their escape between reels..


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