Technology: April 2005 Archives

Maybe you knew this, but it was news to me: The 8-track tape was developed by the Lear Jet Company. The website 8-Track Heaven has an interview with Frank Schmidt, a member of the design team at Lear that developed the 8-track. Schmidt talks about the technical challenges -- the head mechanism, the rollers, the motor, the cartridges -- and what it was like to work for Bill Lear:

He was a weird character. One of the first things we had to do when we set up our plant in Detroit was remove all the clocks out of the building. The Lear factory, office, plant, whatever, never had a clock in it. It was like a gambling casino… he didn’t want you to know what time it was....

We had a weird place in Wichita, too. It was the only aircraft plant I ever worked in that had a barbershop. Bill felt that your hair grew on company time, so it should be cut on company time! (laughs) You could call down there, get an appointment, and get a hell of a nice haircut. The other thing we had was a kitchen. It was a walled-in area right in the middle of the building. You could go in there 24 hours a day and you’d find a nice big kitchen with 4-5 tables, and everything you’d find in a kitchen: stove, sink, refrigerator, freezer, oven, the whole works. Completely stocked. Dishes, food, anything you’d want. It was all free.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Technology category from April 2005.

Technology: March 2005 is the previous archive.

Technology: May 2005 is the next archive.

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