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Aug 19, 2013
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“Cassettes never really went away. It may seem like they did, but the truth is different. I think it is a mistake to view cassettes from a retro-chic nostalgia angle. I think it is better to view it as a continuum,” says Hal McGee, an American experimental artist and producer who dedicated his work on preserving the cassette form.

This year, the cassette tape turns 50 years old, giving our lives half a century's worth of music and memories. We know its legacy will live on forever, unfortunately not for the mp3 generation. Nevertheless, we celebrate its Jubilee by collecting 50 fun factoids and trivia about the cassette tape. We’re betting you’d be rummaging through your teenage bin to find your memorable ones after you read this.

Also, read to the very end, and find out what our very first tapes were, including Lourd de Veyra's and those of various other cassette fans.  

1. The cat-cassette myth: Cats love playing with cassettes because they go crazy on the endless tapes they find inside those things. Put a cassette tape in front of your cat and see what we mean.

2. Wire-protect notches found on top of cassettes indicate if tapes can be recorded over or not. To protect its content, the notches are usually plucked to prevent the overwriting. If owners decide to record over the contents, placing adhesive tape on the areas where the notches used to be does the trick. Hit play/record and you’re off to self-recording.

3. We all did the “pen or pencil-rewind” trick: use an edged ball point pen or a Mongol pencil to fit the circles in the middle of the cassette tape and swing it round and round for a faster rewind or fast-forward—especially if your cassette player takes forever to do the job. 

Grumpy Cat shares the same sentiment

4. Dutch inventor, Lou Ottens, made the first ever cassette tape on August 30, 1963 and unveiled it at the Internationale Funk Ausstellung in Berlin.

5. The usual length of the tapes inside a cassette tape: 281 ft 3 inches. That's just a few hotdogs short of the entire length of a football field. 

6. The maximum amount of music that the modern cassette tape can record is 60 minutes per side

NEXT: The birth of a music icon


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