This is an original Weltron “Space Ball” portable radio-cassette player from 1970, it’s finished in bright yellow and comes with both its original pair of separate speakers.

This is the 2004 model from Weltron, a model name that sounded very futuristic back when it was released in the 1970s, but sounds borderline vintage to us now. Original Weltron Space Balls were an industrial design zeitgeist of the 1970s, and they featured everywhere from Austin Powers to That ’70s Show.

Weltron Radio Cassette Player 3

Image DescriptionThe Weltron Space Ball music players were sold with the tagline “The new shape of sound.” It must have worked, as for many years they were selling them just as fast as they could make them.

Weltron was founded in 1960 by Womack Electronics in North Carolina, but it would be the version of the company that appeared in 1968, co-founded by Charles A. Womack and James Pratt Winston, that would become a global sensation.

Early on the company produced a line of electric guitars, and some other electric instruments, and if this was all they ever did they would now likely be lost to history in the long shadow of Fender and Gibson.

It was company co-founder Winston who is said to have come up with the idea of creating a space-age radio/cassette player that could run on either mains or battery power, meaning it would be completely portable.

The first unit debuted in 1970 as a single spherical plastic ball on an integrated stand with a flat front containing the controls and inputs, it was called the “2001” likely in reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey which was released two years earlier in 1968.

It could play AM/FM radio as well as eight track tapes, and it was initially sold for the princely sum of $159.95 USD – the approximate equivalent to $1,200 USD today. Despite the high cost, the unit sold well, well enough for Weltron to develop a whole line of similar units.

The 1970s were a time before the widespread adoption of personal computers or the mainstream acceptance of gaming consoles, so many young people spent much of their disposable income on their Hi-Fi and music systems. This was likely part of the reason that the Weltron Space Balls sold so well, an additional reason was the fact that they were considered a must have item in any self-respecting 1970s home.

The popularity of the units waned as the 1970s rolled on, though the company has remained in business under a number of new owners, though they now sell electronic parts and accessories rather than consumer goods.

The Weltron “Space Ball” 2004 Model Shown Here

The unit you see here is an original unit said to be from 1970. It has a yellow plastic body, and it comes with both the original main unit (which has built-in speakers), and two additional external speakers.

Weltron Radio Cassette Player 2

Image DescriptionThe Space Ball series morphed into a whole range of music equipment, including record players and external speakers.

The listing doesn’t note whether it’s in working condition or not, though many of them seem to have survived in working condition to the current day – a testament to the original electronics that were used.

If you’d like to read more about this Space Ball or place a bid you can visit the listing on Aguttes here.

Weltron Radio Cassette Player 1

Images courtesy of Weltron and Aguttes

Published by Ben Branch -