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They don't make 'em like they used to! The first videotape recorder was put into service in 1956. In the fifty years following there have been evolutionary changes. 

I have always liked machines. I built a robot when I was 10.

This is a gallery of favorite machines.

The Ampex VR-1000 was shown in 1956. It changed Television completely. Google for television history, or video recording history to get the long version of the story. I once paid $500 for one of these (worth $50,000 in 1956). I eventually sold it for $500 as a movie prop (Videodrome). After the movie was finished, the darn thing came back to me via a friend who "picked it up" for me for free.

The VR-2000 was the high art of video recording in the 60's and 70's. 

The VR-3000 is cute as a button... 12 volt operation, maximum 20 minute spool, no erase head (blank tape recording only), and it has a handle! The first "portable" recorder. I still own this.

The Sony BVH-500 was a breakthrough in portability. 1-inch tape, 12 volt operation. I shot a couple of series using this. You could actually carry it, plunk it down, and with a ten-foot camera cable, shoot in a ten-foot radius of the machine, relocate, and shoot some more. Not shown is the small car battery that ran it for an hour.

Mr. Animation III. In service from 1991 to 1993. Still operational, but not installed anywhere.