Oh how time progresses. It seems like just yesterday when we were marvelling at the quality of VHS or gasping in awe at how we could change channels from the comfort of our own seat. Nowadays, we consider anything that’s larger than the palm of our hand and doesn’t tell us exactly where we are in the world in a nano second as primitive. Check out this collection of vintage technology ads announcing products that were positively ground breaking at the time they were released, but these days seem hopelessly out of date.

Admiral Triple Thrill Advert (1948)

In 1948 the Triple Thrill From Admiral was the very latest in all-in-one home entertainment. Massive, in comparison to today’s home entertainment technology, this brilliant device was designed to ‘charm your family and guests’ and included a 10″ ‘Magic Mirror Television’, 2-speed automatic phonograph that played both standard and the ‘new’ LP format records and a ‘powerful’ FM/AM radio all combined in a ‘breathtakingly beautiful cabinet’. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore (thank goodness).

Zenith Flash-Matic Advert 1955

The Zenith Flash-Matic remote control system used a photo flash tube in a hand held remote that was aimed at sensitive photo-receivers on the front of the TV. This futuristic looking device promised users “a beam of magic light” that would change channels, turn the TV on or off and “Shut off annoying commercials” all from your easy chair. Unfortunately however, sunshine falling on the TV was found to inadvertently activate the sensors meaning the TV often had a mind of its own.

Panasonic Starstream Television Advert 1967

This 1967 ad from Japanese consumer electronics company Panasonic announced ‘the death of ugly television’. Oh how wrong they were! The Starstrem was the worlds first ‘tiny’ AC-battery operated and featured a dark-tint screen, lighted ‘pop-up’ channel indicator and an earphone jack for private listening for when “you want to watch the Late Show and you wife wants to watch the sandman.” Panasonic billed this little gadget “the best looking set in store”, but compered to today’s TV’s this thing is just plain ugly!

Sony Betamax Advert 1978

This vintage ad from Sony, featuring their Betamax SL-8600 video recorder, boasted over 3 hours recording ‘even when you’re out of your house’. Sony’s Betamax video format was originally introduced in 1975 and, for over a decade, battled it out with JVC’s VHS format. Despite many believing it was the superior of the two, Betamax eventually lost the video format war to VHS.

Sony Walkman Advert 1980

The Sony Walkman was first built in 1978 after Sony’s co-chairman Akio Morita wanted to be able to listen to operas during frequent trans-Pacific flights. Although known worldwide as the Walkman the device was originally marketing as the Soundabout in the US and as the Stowaway in the UK. The Walkman changed the way we listen to music forever and in Sony’s own words ‘sounded like it weighed a ton’ – from looking at this classic 80′s ad, it looked like it weighed a ton too!

Pioneer Laserdisc Advert 1990

This Pioneer ad from 1990 promotes the electronics company’s laserdisc product, a 30cm home video disc that was the worlds first commercial optical disc storage device. Although popular in Japan and South East Asia, the laserdisc never really took off in the US or UK, despite producing a higher quality image than both its rivals, VHS and Betamax video tape systems. Although discontinued in the early 2000s, the technology provided by Laserdiscs lives on in CDs and DVDs.

This list of retro ads was compiled by PrinterInks – suppliers of top brand printing products, including Dell, Samsung, HP, Canon and Panasonic ink cartridges.





About the Author: Alex Roman

I’m a 23-year old independent graphic artist based in Romania, Bucharest. I design beautiful, engaging user experiences and intuitive user interfaces for the web. I really love what I do. Want to hire me? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter.