Saturday, May 15, 2021

Vintage 1960s Electronics The Entertainment Console


The Entertainment Console

There was once a time when tablets, smartphones, and 4K flat-screen televisions did not exist, but many American homes had what were called, “entertainment centers.

At the beginning of the 1960s, the suburban livingroom was often filled with Danish modern, French or Italian provincial furniture, and used only by adults on special occasions. But the whole family utilized the den or “rec room,” and the centerpiece was the family entertainment console.

They were usually equipped with a stereo record turntable for playing vinyl LPs, an AM/FM radio, and of course, a television. The big draw was the television. In 1960, it may still have been black & white, but more affluent families went for the color set. They were rather expensive—even in the prosperous time of the space race.

From compact units with the turntable and AM/FM radio accessed from a hinged lid to gigantic credenzas measuring ten feet wide including stereo speaker cabinets at the ends, each as wide as a clothes dryer. For audiophiles of the time, stereo LPs demonstrated how one’s home could sound like a concert hall or movie theater. Popular albums of the time included soundtracks from Broadway productions and movies like The Sound of Music, Camelot, Exodus, West Side Story, and Blue Hawaii. Another popular genre was comedy. Listeners loved The First Family (which was a spoof of the Kennedy family) and My Son, the Folk Singer with Allan Sherman.

Sometimes the entertainment center spanned the width of the available wall, but that didn’t matter to the generation of kids watching The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Bob Cummings, or The Joey Bishop Show.

These gigantic vacuum tube systems gradually gave way to solid-state (transistorized) Stereos, AM/FM radio, and even televisions.

Another new fad was the “component” system which allowed customized mixing and matching of tuners, amplifiers, TV sets, and started to include reel-to-reel tape recorders and 4 track tape players.

Thus, by the end of the 1960s, the massive entertainment center was a dinosaur.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Vintage 1960s Cars Plymouth Valiant

Plymouth Valiant

In May 1957, Chrysler president Tex Colbert set up a committee to come up with a competitor for the increasingly popular small imports.     

          Plymouth had actually been experimenting with small cars for many years, including a 100” wheelbase Airflow model in 1937 and several small Cadets through the late 1940s and 1950s.

          The Chrysler "Falcon" project was the code name for what became the compact Valiant. It was named after the 1955 Chrysler Falcon two-seater, aimed at competing with the Thunderbird and Corvette. History will show it ended up competing with Ford Falcon, Chevrolet Corvair, and Rambler American.

        Just before it was to be introduced as the Falcon the crack Chrysler Marketing Group found out Ford had registered that name for their compact car. There was a wild last-minute scramble, and a contest was held among Chrysler employees to come up with a new name. It was a secretary who won the prize with "Valiant."

          As an Introduction Day promotion, someone in the crack Chrysler Marketing Group came up with what seemed like a great idea at the time. Why not show off the new Valiant on the streets of New York City as taxicabs?

          The Plymouth Valiant had been tested in every conceivable manner, and nothing bad ever happened to the test cars. They were truly bulletproof. However, they were never tested in the one thing taxis do a lot; they sit and idle. No initial production Valiant could idle 15 minutes. Within an hour of starting, all the Valiant taxis had died at curbside, and could not be restarted. They were sheepishly towed away and shipped back to Highland Park Engineering.

          The folks in the engine lab figured out the problem in about two weeks, a near-record response time. As for the original production cars, well, hopefully, no one used them for taxis. The Valiant ceased production in 1976.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Vintage 1960s Women's Fashion Jewelry



A major change in jewelry for women came in the 60s making a departure from the previous decade. Not only did jewelry become readily available to everyone at many different prices (from expensive designer jewelry to inexpensive copies) but every woman could be in fashion. It was the era of “more is more,” large colorful, striking necklaces and huge earrings were commonplace.

        During the decade there were 6 basic types of jewelry that were most popular:

The art influence of Pop Art and Op Art.

        Though Pop art and Op art were separate art movements  people

        mixed them to their liking.

Jewelry designs were produced by mass production thanks to new Plastics and Perspex (Resin) during this decade.

Early plastics such as Bakelite and Catalin were developed at the beginning of the century. By the 1960s, technology produced new plastics. Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn popularized the material as jewelry.

Floral designs ( better known as Flower Power) were popular towards the end of the 60s. Especially daisies.

Resin and vinyl paper, PVC, Lucite, and leather were used. To create new ‘pop’ colors such as "hot"  pink, turquoise, orange and yellow.


1960s jewelry was designed to make a visual statement. Jewelry was designed often with lurid man-made combinations paired together using bold colors.

Patterns and color combinations were designed to create shock.

Geometric Shapes

The Space Age influenced jewelry. Very popular were metal designs in geometric shapes were very popular.

        The counter-culture of the decade (the baby boomers of the 1960s) wanted to detach themselves from the ideals and attitudes of the prior decade. They wanted to create their own style and statements, ignoring the influences of their parents and the older generation.