The Last Cassette Tape Factory

Monday February 10, 2020 Written by Genevieve

The last tape maker

If you were born between 1980 and 1990 and have interacted with the world in any way since, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten a piece of the defunct-technology-throwback pie. We’re talking typewriters. Film. Printing presses. Phones with cords. Heck, even paper’s a little old-hat these days (though we love it so). And no nostalgia junky would be complete without a semi-ironic-but-mostly-not-ironic stash of cassette tapes.

Our first impression was that tape’s resurgent popularity was just another soon-to-be short-lived craze. Surely no one seriously was putting the clunky old things up there with vinyl, right?

Then we heard about National Audio Company – the last cassette tape manufacturer left in the U.S. – in this short film from Great Big Story. Contrary to our Negative Nancy prognostications, the NAC’s chief technician, Robert Coverston, says that the last ten years have shown nothing but growth in the cassette tape sector. What is more, the NAC’s figures reached an all-time industry high in 2015, set only to be outdone by their even better performance in 2016.

“There is no question that cassettes are making a comeback,” says Robert, and he attributes the re-rise of tape appreciation to our generation’s realisation that analogue offers the user an experience that digital just can’t replicate – for better or worse.