Mysterious Object Aboard A Continental Jet…

I mentioned on the front page that I’d sometimes be asking your help figuring out what was going on in some of the pictures I’ve found over the years, and I’d like to do that right now. Take a look at this Continental Airlines advertisement from 1962: COGoldCarpetSvc1962Airchive

1. First of all, what is the thing on the table? I see a speaker grille on the side facing the camera, those look like controls on the top, and it looks vaguely like a reel-to-reel tape player – but why would one of those be in the middle of an aircraft cabin? It’s not a television, because even though transistor TV’s that were smaller than tube models became available that year, the most compact was about a foot wide. There was also no way to receive television in flight at that time. Whatever the thing is, nobody seems to be paying any attention to it.

2. The electronic equipment of that era was expensive, heavy, and fragile. The mystery object is sitting on a flat table in an aircraft with nothing holding it down, making it a projectile waiting to happen at the first sign of turbulence. Nothing good could happen to it or the people drinking Champagne nearby in that case.

3. The mystery thing is sitting on a partition in the cabin that looks like it has a frosted plastic insert. Since it is in the center of the aisle, it might have some small degree of functionality if the idea is to make it unable to clearly see the people on the other side of the cabin, but that’s all I can think of when it comes to utility.

Those are my questions… anyone with answers is invited to contact me at