Throw Back Thursday: The Portable Plus
Our object this week is the last Talking Book phonograph from APH, the Portable Plus. The machine was designed and entirely assembled at the American Printing House for the Blind under an agreement with the Variable Speed Corporation. It was introduced in 1990, but APH had already stopped making rigid vinyl records for the National Library Service, and flexible records used for magazines would be phased out a few years later.
It is a lesson about how long it takes to bring a product from the drawing board to production. Sometimes it is obsolete even before you start making it. The Portable Plus only lasted a few years before it was discontinued. But while available it was a marvel. The tone arm was spring loaded and would play a record even when the machine was tipped on its side! And it had an internal rechargeable battery, so you could take it anywhere.
APH Museum Director
Photo Caption: The Portable Plus was about 13 inches square, with a gray plastic case and a speaker in the lid.