Here’s an Odd and Fascinating Collection of Portable Record Players from Japan

Until the Boomers were old enough to afford proper hi-fi stereo gear, they made do with portable record players. I’m just old enough to remember friends who hauled their record players to each others’ houses so they could share the music on the 45s they bought. Sounds quaint now, doesn’t it?

There was one portable unit in my house: a Sears Silvertone suitcase model covered in a pukey green leatherette. It had a four-speed motor (16/33/45/78) and a double-sided stylus. One side had a microgroove needle for LPs and 45s while the other had a thicker steel needle used for tracking 78s. If you tried to use the 78 side on an LP, it wouldn’t fit in the grooves and just skated across the surface of the record. I remember it looking something like this.

Portable record player

The Japanese would have found that very, very boring. Fumihito Taguchi, the owner of a record shop in Tokyo, has been collecting portable record players for quite some time. Tom points is to this gallery of phonographs. Here are a few examples.

Portable record player - panda

Portable record player - space

Portable record player - tiny




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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