TP1

Record Player
1959 (designed), 1959 (manufactured)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This combined transistor radio and portable record player epitomises both the functionalist principles of post-War German design and the excitement of the new pop culture. The record player is the larger of the two units. The rotating mechanism has a shallow cylindrical projection that fits into the central hole in the record. Unconventionally, the record is played on the underside, not the top, by a stylus in the rectangular recess on the left. This is revealed by a sliding panel, operated by the lever above. The position of the lever and stylus meant that this could only take 7-inch-wide 'singles', playing at 45 rpm. This format, introduced by RCA in 1949, became synonymous with pop music and lifestyle. Transistors were an innovation of the early 1950s that enabled radios to be miniaturised and become portable. In this design, both the radio and the record player could be used independently, but they slot together in the sleek and durable aluminium carrying case, emphasising their portability.

The function and design of this audio equipment, and even the forms, materials and colours, anticipate the enormously successful iPod family of portable music players, launched by Apple half a century after this product was designed.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Record Player
  • Radio
  • Case
Materials and Techniques
Aluminium, leather, polystyrene, electronic components
Brief Description
TP1 Portable record player and radio, designed by Dieter Rams, manufactured by Braun, Germany, 1959
Physical Description
Grey polystyrene oblong radio and record player in two separate parts, contained within an aluminium casing that reveals the top of both units. A leather hand strap is attached to the aluminium casing.

Dimensions
  • Height: 4.5cm
  • Width: 15.2cm
  • Length: 23.5cm
Production typeMass produced
Object history
This design won an award at the 'Interplas' plastics trade show in London, 1961.

Summary
This combined transistor radio and portable record player epitomises both the functionalist principles of post-War German design and the excitement of the new pop culture. The record player is the larger of the two units. The rotating mechanism has a shallow cylindrical projection that fits into the central hole in the record. Unconventionally, the record is played on the underside, not the top, by a stylus in the rectangular recess on the left. This is revealed by a sliding panel, operated by the lever above. The position of the lever and stylus meant that this could only take 7-inch-wide 'singles', playing at 45 rpm. This format, introduced by RCA in 1949, became synonymous with pop music and lifestyle. Transistors were an innovation of the early 1950s that enabled radios to be miniaturised and become portable. In this design, both the radio and the record player could be used independently, but they slot together in the sleek and durable aluminium carrying case, emphasising their portability.



The function and design of this audio equipment, and even the forms, materials and colours, anticipate the enormously successful iPod family of portable music players, launched by Apple half a century after this product was designed.
Bibliographic Reference
p. 98Katz, Sylvia. Classic Plastics: From Bakelite to High Tech (Thames & Hudson, London: 1984)
Collection
Accession Number
W.28:1 to 3-2008

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record createdApril 4, 2008
Record URL