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Some models of Dansettes record player had a BSR autochanger allowing several records to be loaded at once, and played in succession. It was first manufactured in 1952 and at least one million were sold in the 1950s and 1960s. Dansette became a household name in the late 1950s and 60s when the British music industry shot up in popularity after the arrival of acts such as Cliff Richard, The Beatles, and The Shadows. Teenagers would have used various Dansettes player to take to and from parties to listen to the newest records at the time.
Manufactured by the London firm, J & A Margolin Ltd, the Dansette model of record player was a common sight in many British households during the 1960s and is a statement and artifact of the vibrant, popular youth culture which developed during the period.
The Dansette was a versatile machine with many being equipped to play 7, 10- and 12-inch discs of 78, 45, 33⅓, and 16 rpm. Larger models such as the Bermuda could be fitted with optional legs for home use, while the Viva and Junior models were designed to be transportable, with a handle and studs affixed to the side of the case, latches to secure the protective lid. Like almost all record players of the day, they had built-in speakers.
Even though Dansette players cost a lot of money, some experts and fans of the industry argue that the players were overrated. Despite this criticism, Dansette managed to outsell other makes such as Dynatron, Bush, Kolster-Brandes, Ferguson and many more.
Dansette set a "standard look" for all portable record players of the time. The look was generally a latched lid on top, a speaker and control knobs on the front, and sometimes a carrying handle.
The end of Dansette production
Dansettes went out of production in December 1969, following the introduction of relatively cheap and efficient Japanese and other Far Eastern imported Hi-Fi equipment. Dansettes were not cheap either. Despite this, many teenagers acquired one, taking them to parties, and purchasing the latest singles (45s). The very first model available in 1950/51 was the Plus~a~Gram and the Senior, these were very expensive and many teens and adults could not afford record players until later. It retailed at 33 guineas which today would be the approximately £800. In 1962 a Dansette Popular 4 speed record player would be sold for 11 guineas and for another 2 guineas you could opt for the Bermuda with a 4 speed autochanger with legs. Many of these record players still remain in use but have been refurbished, there are now many firms in the UK who restore these players as well as independent engineers who restore the players as a hobby. Many Dansettes were sold in December as Christmas presents, but the majority would be purchased with the now readily available "hire purchase". In 1958, Dansette started producing the Dansette Junior and later the De Luxe designed to appeal to the teenagers who would take them to and from parties. By the late 1960s, recording techniques were becoming more sophisticated. Stereo had been virtually ignored until now and there was a change of direction from the 45's to the LP. Customers began to seek more modern Hi-Fi systems.
Samuel Margolin later stated: "Inevitably the market dried up for record players. Imports from Japan took over the market with cut-throat competition and the company went into liquidation.″
During the years 1950-1969/70 over one million Dansettes were sold