A VHS tape without a home.

A VHS tape without a home. (Photo: DRs Kulturarvsprojekt/CC BY-SA 2.0)

All good tech must come to an end. Funai Electric Comapany—the last known producers of Video Cassette Recorders, or VCRs—have hit “stop” on manufacturing, Japanese newspaper Nikkei reports.

VCRs (and their good buddies, VHS tapes) first hit the shelves in the 1970s and quickly rose to dominance, acting as the centerpiece technology for endless sleepovers, late night TV recordings, and screenings of shakily filmed Little League games. By the 1990s, 95% of American households had one. Just ten years later, though, DVD players were successfully muscling in on this territory, and producers of VCRs and VHS tapes slowly began to give up.

The last holdout was Funai, which built their recorders in China and sold them in North America under the Sanyo brand. According to Nikkei, Funai is stopping production this month, citing a shrinking market and the difficulty of finding parts.

One of the coolest things about VCRs is pressing that rewind button and listening to the tape spin back. Technological progress, however, moves relentlessly forward, and you can’t rewind it, no matter how kind you are.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.