Boomboxes were introduced commercially by various companies in the late 1970s, when stereo capabilities were added to the designs of existing radio-cassette recorders, that had appeared earlier in the decade and were capable of receiving radio stations and playing recorded music at high volumes. These high-tech electronic devices often supported many types of audio media from cassettes and CDs to records and even an occasional model with an eight-track tape option. Many models were also capable of recording from the radio and other sources. Designed for portability, most boomboxes can be powered by batteries, as well as a standard household outlet. As consumers began embracing the boombox as an indispensable form of portable entertainment, it became an icon of popular culture, that we’ve yet to let go of.
Later more powerful and sophisticated models were introduced that boasted such features as two or more loudspeakers, shortwave bands, amplifiers, graphic equalizers, Dobly Noise Reduction, dual cassette tapes and high speed dubbing features. These extravagant models were often associated with the 1980s phenomena of hip hop culture and breakdancing, and were introduced into the mainstream consciousness through music videos, movies, television and documentaries often referring to the boomboxes as ghetto blasters or jam boxes. During this time competing manufacturers scrambled to produce the biggest, loudest, clearest-sounding, bassiest, flashiest and/or most novel boomboxes. As the decade progressed, manufacturers tended to compete more on price, at the expense of quality and smaller designs became more popular.
Check out some of the awesome examples of these technological dinosaurs over at Pocket Calculator’s Boombox Museum