4-track cartridge
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The Muntz Stereo-Pak, commonly known as the 4- track cartridge, is a
magnetic tape sound recording An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction device that records and plays back sounds usually using magnetic tape for storage. In its presen ...
cartridge technology. The Stereo-Pak cartridge was inspired by the
Fidelipac The Fidelipac, commonly known as a "NAB cartridge" or simply "cart", is a magnetic tape sound recording format, used for radio broadcasting for playback of material over the air such as radio commercials, jingles, station identifications, and ...
3-track tape cartridge system invented by
George Eash George H. Eash (May 11, 1911 – July 6, 1980)Cartridge Inventor George Eash Dead ...
in 1954 and used by radio broadcasters for commercials and jingles beginning in 1959. The Stereo-Pak was adapted from the basic Fidelipac cartridge design by
Earl "Madman" Muntz Earl William "Madman" Muntz (January 3, 1914 – June 21, 1987) was an American businessman and engineer who sold and promoted cars and consumer electronics in the United States from the 1930s until his death in 1987. He was a pioneer in telev ...
in 1962 with Muntz partnering with Eash, as a way to play prerecorded tapes in cars.Jay Ehler
Earl Muntz Meets George Eash
Billboard vol. 84, No. 47, 18 November 1972, p. 62, 76, 78
The tape is arranged in an infinite loop which traverses a central hub and crosses a tape head, usually under a pressure pad to assure proper tape contact. The tape is pulled by tension, and spooling is aided by a lubricant, usually
graphite Graphite () is a crystalline form of the element carbon. It consists of stacked layers of graphene. Graphite occurs naturally and is the most stable form of carbon under standard conditions. Synthetic and natural graphite are consumed on lar ...
.


History

The endless loop tape cartridge was designed in 1952 by
Bernard Cousino Bernard August Cousino (1 August 1902 – 29 December 1994) was an American music technology inventor. He is known for inventing an endless loop tape cartridge design in 1952, known as the Audio Vendor, patented under US2804401A. The tape is pulle ...
of
Toledo, Ohio Toledo ( ) is a city in and the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio, United States. A major Midwestern United States port city, Toledo is the fourth-most populous city in the state of Ohio, after Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, and acc ...
. Entrepreneur Earl "Madman" Muntz of Los Angeles, California, saw a potential in these broadcast carts for an automobile music tape system, and in 1962 introduced his "Stereo-Pak 4-Track Stereo Tape Cartridge System" and prerecorded tapes, initially in California and Florida. He licensed popular music albums from the major record companies and duplicated them on these 4-track cartridges, or CARtridges, as they were first advertised. Previously, music in the car had been restricted mostly to radios. Records, due to their methods of operation and size, were not practical for use in a car, although several companies tried to market an automobile record player including the Highway Hi-Fi and the Auto-Com flexidisc


References

{{Audio format Audiovisual introductions in 1962 Audio storage Tape recording Discontinued media formats American inventions 1962 in music 1962 in technology Products introduced in 1962