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Essential Retro: The Vintage Technology Guide presents the wonderful world of classic electronics, vintage gadgets, and magnificent machines.

Join author James Grahame as he introduces you to hundreds of dazzling devices from years past. You'll encounter  vintage and neo-retro cameras, audio components, televisions, computers, video games, vehicles, toys, electronic musical instruments and mechanical gadgets. This is a fantastic opportunity to revisit a bygone age of elegant mechanics and hand-drawn design.

Many brilliant old machines are hidden away in attics and garages throughout the world - forgotten movie cameras lie on dusty shelves beside obsolete computers and clever mechanical toys, all crying out to be rediscovered and brought back to life. The wonderful contraptions on these pages will capture your imagination and encourage you to explore the world of classic technology.

Also available as an eBook! The $9.95 electronic edition includes the complete contents of the print version in Adobe Acrobat format. Visit eSellerate to buy it now with instant delivery.

Essential Retro:
The Vintage Technology Guide

228 pages, 7.5 x 9.25 inches, soft cover
ISBN 0-9736838-1-3
Published 2006
Sputnik Books

Special Offer: Order direct and receive an author signed copy!

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Essential Retro is a large format (7.5 x 9.25 inch) paperback filled with hundreds of fascinating photographs to complement the text.


Here's what you'll find inside:

Mechanical Retro Things

Timepieces, mechanical typewriters, retro cars and even a couple of kit-built biplanes. Nothing beats the beauty of classic cogs, springs, and gears.


The Wonderful World of Hi-Fi

It all started with gramophones. Explore the modern resurgence of vinyl, including a look at more than a half-dozen brand new turntables. We'll also take a look at early transistor radios, tape recorders, and the rediscovery of tube audio.


Exploring the Television Age

Television brought the sights and sounds of world-class entertainment into homes around the globe. Here's a whimsical look at early TV, reel-to-reel video recorders, the VHS/Betamax format war, and even a toy video camera from the 1980s.


Invasion of the Microcomputers

Travel back to a time when hundreds of unique computers battled for the hearts and minds of technology enthusiasts. Includes a section on oddball microcomputers, along with some early portable and pocket-sized machines.


The Magic of Videogames

The 1970s saw the birth of electronic arcade games and gamers rushed to bring the technology home. Essential Retro introduces you to the ground-breaking game consoles that defined the industry in the 1970s and 1980s.


Electronic Musical Instruments

Musical synthesizers became affordable in the 1980s and changed the face of pop music. Join us for a glimpse of some classic and modern electronic instruments that offer vintage sound.


Cameras and Optical Gadgets

Photography is a fascinating blend of art and science, and classic cameras offer an opportunity to experiment and capture images that rival even the best digital cameras. We take a look at a couple of affordable medium-format cameras, some high quality 35mm cameras, and some strange instant and pinhole devices.


Shooting Movies on Super 8

Super 8 film has outlasted many technologies from the 1960s because of its unique look and simplicity. The last few years have seen a dramatic rediscovery of Super 8 -- find out why.


Household Retro Stuff

An esoteric selection of strangely appealing household tech and gadgetry. Includes vintage telephones, toasters, the modern descendent of the Lava Lamp and more.


Classic Toys for Modern Fun

Vintage toys offer the chance to escape from daily life into a wonderful childhood world of discovery and imagination. Find out where to buy affordable tin robots, the history of Meccano, and even how to get your hands on a laser-sighted slingshot.


Special Offer: Order direct and receive and author signed copy!

Order direct for $19.95

Add to Cart

View Cart
All prices in US dollars.


Order direct for $19.95

Add to Cart
All prices in US dollars.

Order direct and receive an author signed copy!

Order direct  and James Grahame will pass along his thanks by signing your copy.


New eBook version available for $9.95 with instant delivery  from

Ten chapters that explore the wonderful world of classic electronics, vintage gadgets, and magnificent machines.
Hundreds of photographs and reproductions of classic magazine advertisements to complement the text.
Includes mechanical things, hi-fi, obsolete computers, vintage videogames, television, electronic musical instruments, cameras and movie cameras, household stuff and a handful of classic toys.
Fully indexed to help you keep track of your favorite devices.
222 pages in a large 7.5 x 9.25 inch format on high-quality bright white paper.

Essential Retro is fully compatible with all technology and gadget enthusiasts, no matter their age or experience. Be warned that retro gear is highly addictive and batteries are not included.

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