From time to time, I love to look at Sony auctions on eBay. Not the usual stuff, but anything that comes up under the search sony vintage, sorted by highest price. The usual video equipment and some high-end decks are there, but if you peer around long enough you’ll find something amazing every once in a while. And today I have found just that – a listing for the Sony Tapecorder Model 101 with no bids at $79 and a day left. This 1/4” 1/2-track mono reel-to-reel recorder/reproducer worked with 3”, 5”, or 7” EIA hub reels, and recorded from multiple sources. For its time, and even today, it is well built and has some professional features.
Here’s an awesome video from the auction listing:
The Model 101 Tapecorder was one of Sony’s first offerings to the home recording enthusiat of the early 1950’s and was available through SuperScope, which was founded by the Tushinsky Brothers in the 1950s to promote a process by the same name to produce wide screen motion pictures. They wanted a share of the market dominated by Cinemascope, Todd-AO, Panavision and others. Unfortunately, Superscope never caught on with Hollywood film makers.
The brothers then decided to try the audio business. After a visit by Joseph Tushinsky to Japan in 1957, Superscope became the exclusive distributors of the first Sony tape recorders in the US, like the Model 101. Right around the same time Delmonico was awarded the same for Sony’s novel transistor radios. By the late 50s, Sony ditched Delmonico and started Sony Corporation Of America with Akio Morita presiding over the company. They tried to gain the US distribution rights to the tape recorder line as well, but the Tushinsky brothers refused and I am guessing they had the legal documents to do so. The agreement was for 20 years I believe. Superscope grew exponentially in the years to come, absorbing Marantz in 1964. Sony was just starting to make inroads in hi-fi equiment at the time.
Finally in 1977, Sony was allowed to directly distribute their tape recorder line; their contract with Superscope had expired. Do you remember Tapecorder, or other vintage Sony audio products from this time?