The Dansette record player became an iconic artefact of the youth culture of the 1950s and 1960s, and the name became a generic term for many different makes of small record player.
A small, portable record player became very popular during World War I. Its spring motor turntable an acoustic horn fitted into a suitcase.
The introduction of electronic recording and reproduction via loudspeaker tethered the record player to a power outlet, and its status as a piece of furniture led to larger and more ornate machines that sat proudly in living rooms.
In 1950, Morris Margolin’s British company returned to the earlier format of compact player encased in a suitcase (complete with strap handle) with the loudspeaker incorporated into the lid.
They called it the Dansette.
The turntable had three speeds – 78, 45 and 33 – to suit all the records available. But the growing popularity of the 7-inch 45 RPM single, and the inclusion of an autochanger, made the Dansette the choice of teenagers who wanted to play their singles in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
The leatherette-covered Dansette came in a variety of bright colours, which made them especially attractive to young women, and some models came with built-in transistor radios.
Millions of these machines were made all over Europe and the Americas under many different names, but the Dansette name retains the aura of the 1960s.