Whoa. Have you guys EVER seen/heard/owned a TefiĀ­fon? Nope?! I didn't think so! The Tefifon was a German-engineered and -manufactured tape deck that used cartridges "loaded with an endĀ­lessly looped reel of plasĀ­tic tape (much like the later 4-track and 8-track magĀ­netic audio tape carĀ­tridges) with grooves emĀ­bossed on" the tape surface. So, tho' it was a tape, instead of sound stored magnetically, it had grooves like what we see on records.

The grooves were emĀ­bossed in a heĀ­liĀ­cal fashĀ­ion across the width of the tape, much simĀ­iĀ­lar to DicĀ­taĀ­phone's Dictabelt forĀ­mat, and were read with a styĀ­lus and amĀ­pliĀ­fied pickup in the player's transĀ­port. A TefiĀ­fon carĀ­tridge could hold up to four hours of music, thereĀ­fore, most reĀ­leased for the forĀ­mat were usuĀ­ally comĀ­piĀ­laĀ­tions of popĀ­uĀ­lar hits or dance music, operas and opĀ­erettas.

Gosh, it's a cool-looking machine, sounds good, could run for hours, and the tapes are even smart looking. So, why'd it fail? The machine was on the market from the late '40s through the mid '60s, but was shuttered after struggling, and failing, to compete with the Long Play album and tape formats. Also, there was a problem of major label disinterestā€”since most Tefifon releases were by little-known artists, there was little demand. Sidebar for audio trainspotters: The Tefifton was almost exclusively sold in Germany, but was marketed in the States in the mid '60s "under the 'Westrex' name."