In Pictures: Groovy 1970s consumer tech

The 1970s played host to an explosion in consumer electronics gadgets that changed how we educate, entertain, calculate, and communicate.

In Pictures: Groovy 1970s consumer tech prev next

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Psychedelic Lights

The drug culture of the 1960s cast a long shadow that reached well into the next decade. Its influence even extended to consumer electronics, as illustrated quite clearly in this display of psychedelic light boxes and "color organs" in a 1974 Sears catalog. The simplest of the devices produced random, swirling electromechanical color effects. The color organs, however, responded to music with more intelligence: The most complex color organ shown here (#5) contained 16 light bulbs, responded to three different music frequency ranges (high, middle, and low), and sold for $38 (about $174 in 2012 dollars). Such offerings would show up in similar catalogs throughout the remainder of the '70s.

Credit: Sears

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