Retro Products

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Although our modern appliances and devices offer an ever-increasing variety of features and options, their hi-tech functionality often overshadows any aesthetic value. As a result, we're left with many products that are quite useful, but often visually unappealing. If an appliance is going to be in constant use in a home or office, its appearance should come into consideration, just as the appearance of a piece of furniture would. However, while there are exceptions to the rule, the standard, impersonal look of many new appliances makes this highly a difficult task.

If you take a look at some products, designs, appliances, and vehicles from the 1930s through the early '60s, you'll probably notice a degree of style that is often lacking in modern design. However, thanks to increasingly popular retro products, you can now have the classic look of vintage audio/video devices and appliances, as well as the reliable technology of modern products.

Why Are Retro Products Popular?

Retro products replicate the look of the devices of the past, but are designed to be compatible with the technology of today. For example, if you were to find a classic '50s "space age" television set, featuring the sleek, stylized design of that era, you would probably have difficulty integrating it into your current home entertainment system. AV jacks, stereo compatibility, and digital/cable readiness would all be absent in the original model. In addition, the cathode ray tube display might be less than favorable, and the image quality poor, and probably not equipped for color. However, many companies now specialize in creating modern devices that capture the "retro" look of their predecessors while offering the same features as any other current model.

Thanks to retro products, you can now enjoy the aesthetics of a '50s TV, combined with the image quality, convenience, and stereo sound quality of a modern television. You can also find attractive, classic record players and vintage standalone, wood cabinet-encased home stereos that are also capable of playing CDs, and even MP3 CD-ROMs in some cases. Phones are another item popular with retro fans. Phones replicating anything from turn of the century "hand crank" units, to municipal payphones, to art deco desktop receivers, to the popular "princess" phones of the '50s are now widely available.

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