Mid-century modern record consoles have an elegance that could lead you to believe they materialized…
Some of the coolest home furnishings ever designed were the incredible mid-century modern hifi record consoles of the 1960’s. During an era where everyone looked to the future with great optimism, the interior design of the day also captured the excitement and possibility of living in a space-age utopia. These were the centerpiece for many households, during the single largest pop music explosion in history, when bands and could incite hysteria and music became a driving force in pop culture unlike it had been previously seen. Some of these designs have to be seen to be believed, including one of our favorites, which once belonged to David Bowie himself. Here are our Top 5 Vintage Stereo Record Consoles in no particular order.
Electrohome Apollo 711
These bubble-domed record consoles proved to be a lasting style icon of the 1960’s, with its futuristic sci-fi design, it could blend in your typical mid-century modern home or on the deck of a interplanetary space craft. Electrohome, was well known for having manufactured the first phonographs in Canada, and would later go on to become a television broadcaster in their country. By 1965 after a period of tremendous growth Electrohome products would be available in 23 countries around the globe, and they would become very well known for producing the Electrohome Apollo 711, named for NASA’s famed launches. During the lounge music revival of the 1990’s this striking record player from space would end up on album covers, magazine photo shoots and featured in films that wanted to reference this incredible era of style and design.
David Bowie’s Custom Brionvega Record Player
This custom record console, made for Mr. Stardust, was conceived as a “musical pet.” This incredible turntable was able to fetch a whopping $324,000 at a recent auction. Brionvega an Italian company that also produced other notable designs, including the “Cubo” television, which is on permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Clairtone Project G
One of the most unique designs from the mid-century modern era of stereo consoles is this series of players, known as Clairtone Project G. With its instantly recognizable globe shaped speakers, and space aged minimalism. This was an extremely high end console when it sold originally, with a price tag around $2000 in the mid-1960s. Clairtone, a Canadian company, became an extremely well known design of the day, even though only less than 400 units were ever made. It gained notoriety from features by celebrities like Frank Sinatra and a feature on the set of The Graduate.
PAAM Tube Turntable
Europe provided of the most interesting designs of the mid-century modern era of style, with this French design from 1968. The aeronautics-trained designer created this eye-catching cylindrical stereo turntable, with built-in speakers on both sides.
Appropriately referred to as the “spaceship” this unit added an AM/FM radio and cassette deck built into one compact unit, it is said that the Weltron 2007 was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Weltron 2007 made it’s debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1975, and sold for $399, which today is equivalent to over $1,800 adjusted for inflation.
If you enjoyed this tour through some of our favorite turntables and record consoles of the space age mid-century modern era, take a look at our versions of their modern day counterparts, such as our EGB2 Record Console, KC27 Record Console, J2B2 Record Console, and the beautiful standalone cabinet (without turntable) THE SHELL.