Speaking Clock and other old technologies
The speaking clock goes back to before WW2. A person actually spoke the time and the recording was transferred to large glass disks that were used in the playback unit. We take time synchronization for granted these days but back in the good old days it was more or less manual -- you listened for the pips and pressed the button on the last one.
I started home recording with reel to reel tape but it wasn't that convenient or particularly cheap -- records used to be relatively cheap so there was less incentive to copy them. Records got a lot more expensive after CDs were introduced, the extra costs being due to the additional processing costs of making a CD (!) so that plus portability gave us an incentive to use cassettes even though they're not particularly high fidelity. Being an engineer I was always aware of the future even if it wasn't practical to have it at home -- I first worked with digital video in 1979, for example -- so it was a matter of waiting around until the proper stuff turned up.