Retro technology: the last audio cassette factory

By Steph Guinan

“I think you can characterize our operating model as stubbornness and stupidity,” begins the Bloomberg Business video about the last audio cassette factory. Based in Springfield, MO, the National Audio Company opened in 1969 and hasn’t yet stopped production. After weathering the doldrums of cassette production in the 1990s when all other companies were switching to CDs, this lone cassette factory is currently producing more cassettes than they’ve ever made.

In addition to revealing the company’s surprising business model, the video shows a clip of the company’s Chief Technician, Robert Coverston, who maintains the company’s equipment. He calls the machines “orphans” because they haven’t been in production for many, many years. With a small stock of old machinery that he uses for parts, he has the DIY task of repairing, soldering, and patching the equipment to keep production running smoothly.