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Re: [ARSCLIST] On the beaten 8-track...
8-tracks were also quite useful for information systems. In the late 70's I designed an information system for zoo's where people put a coin (a penny) in a box in front of many of the cages and listened to 8-track recordings of information about the animal. I was a job to get people to read the script (we used a queue light) with the right timing, etc. And we made the tapes custom from bulk, and then loaded them into empty 8-track cartridges. It was tricky to get the loop length and tightness just right. All the tape in the cartridge had to slide past all the other turns to get to the center, where it was pulled out. Even got a U.S. Patent on the control system.
The popular exhibits would have their tape running almost 8-hours per day, and the tapes wore out and were replaced every in 4-5 months. After a trial, we disabled the track switching mechanisms (too unreliable), and just used it as an endless loop device.
If you have ever reloaded these cartridges, you will remember how hard it is to get the fine graphite lubricant off your hands afterwards.