Cabel Sasser takes us on a tour of an American late-century wonder that I felt a sudden and overwhelming vicarious nostalgia for as soon as I saw it: the DAK catalog. I don't know if we ever had something quite so purely gadgetary as this in Britain; I had the Argos Catalog, with plenty to appeal to the small geeky kid circa 198A, but none of DAK's extensively copywritten charm.
You might fantasize about owning one of these items. You might dream about how your life will change with it in your home. And you'll be blown away by the price. But really, it's all because of the copy. I bet you've never read anything quite like it. First, a strange, catchy, probably-confusing headline gets you in. Then, a single item is given an entire page of attention. And most of all, the gadget is described and sold almost as if a friend is telling you all about it.
Patron saint of gadget bloggers right there. His company has a Wikipedia article.
But you must read Cabel's article, because it's about more than DAK, and he and Kay Savetz have uploaded all of it. His research led him to other, even more obscure wonders of gadget marketeering. Here be liminal zines of the mail-order age. I can barely take it all in and feel an overwhelming urge to create a gadget blog that has the exact design, typography and editorial tone of DAK and his cohorts.
DAK and the Golden Age of Gadget Catalogs [cabel.org]