Video Cassette Recorder

Video Cassette Recorder

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Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Engineers began to develop magnetic recorders for video use in the early 1950s and Ampex produced the first commercial unit in 1956. Twenty years of further refinement resulted in miniaturized components and several types of video recorders practical for home use. The Video Home System or “VHS” format was jointly developed in Japan by Japan Victor Company (JVC) and Panasonic.
VHS cassette were originally designed for two hours of programming although this was later lengthened to four hours by slowing the tape speed and sacrificing some of the image resolution. This model VBT200 machine is unusual in that it features a top-loading cassette, most VHS machines used a front-loading design that allowed for easier placement in a video rack or entertainment cabinet. The VHS format was challenged in the market for about ten years by a rival format, the Sony Beta. Ultimately VHS became the defacto standard for home video recording until it was superceded by an optical format in the late 1990s, the digital versatile disk or “DVD.”
Object Name
video recorder
recording device
date made
RCA Corporation
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 4 in x 19 in x 16 in; 10.16 cm x 48.26 cm x 40.64 cm
ID Number
serial number
accession number
catalog number
model number
Credit Line
from Marcel C. LaFollette
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Magnetic Recording
Object Project
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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