A Blog by Cabel Sasser

DAK and the Golden Age of Gadget Catalogs

Hi. My name is Cabel. And I’ve probably got the neatest job in the whole world.

I wear many hats. But here on my personal blog, I get to write about the things I really care about, just for you. And from the fact that you’re reading this blog at all, I think you may be a lot like me.

Well, get ready for this: I’ve been working on this post for over 10 years.

How can that be? It’s simple. For a decade, I’ve been snapping up copies of a certain gadget catalog, one by one, when they’re up for auction. Collecting and waiting.

The catalogs were disposable, and that means not many people kept them. But, to me, they tell a critically important story of the golden age of electronics, gadgets, copywriting, and sales.

They deserve to be preserved.

And I’m the guy to do it.

But, hang on — I’m getting ahead of myself.

As a kid, I didn’t really read sci-fi novels, I’ve never read a single word of J.R.R. Tolkien, and I mostly used the encyclopedia to look up funny words.

What I did read as a kid, over and over again, were game/computer magazines… and the DAK Catalog.

(I know this says a lot about me. We don’t need to discuss it any further.)

Now, I’ve written about this particular catalog back in 2012, but back then I only scratched the surface.

To explain DAK, let’s both look at the Summer ’83 issue.

The cover’s hero image draws you in. What is that beautiful-looking tape deck? (And wow, even today, that thing is pretty awesome.)

Once you open it up, you’re greeted with a daisywheel printed just-for-you welcome message from a guy named Drew Alan Kaplan. That’s right, the D.A.K. himself.

Ok, you’re starting to get it now.

Here’s a catalog, from a guy who chooses cool gadgets, and writes about them in great detail, every word his own. Sounds fun.

And then, you dig in.

You see futuristic watches and wild telephones…

…a cool Atari 2600 cartridge-switching dingus…

…a hilariously sad/depressed battery charger, and more.

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.

The photos. The copy. The gadgets. The pitch. There was so much to take in. That’s the DAK Catalog.

I remember so many little feelings. I used to fantasize about carrying this weird computer around and in my non-existent kid briefcase, and replacing those little ROMs.

And I wanted this SK-1 keyboard so bad, I actually got it for Christmas one year! But from Santa, not DAK.

There’s lots of tech curiosities in here, too. For example, what on earth is this computer-less 3M plotter!?

And I’ve never seen this rad Canon all-in-one! It came with an external printer… and also an internal printer?!

Basically, this catalog was, and still is, my escape.

Drew would always find unique ways to pitch. For years, and I mean literal years, he was harassing a radar detector company, goading them into a wager to prove that his cheaper radar detector was just as good as theirs:

As a kid, I was riveted by this challenge.

Seven years later, the challenge came to an end.

The conclusion was hidden in the page break:

“No, [DAK’s] Maxon didn’t win. No, we aren’t better than Passport and Escort. But, we didn’t lose either!”

Perfection! The DAK detector, you see, was given a “Best Value” award by their tester — that’s hardly a loss!

(Despite the not-loss loss, the next issue had a huge, comprehensive write-up of all of their radar-detector testing results, in perfect Drew-honesty style.)

Drew was also prone to pitching “mistakes”.

The general idea was that someone, somewhere, forgot a button or put in a wrong part, and thanks to their goof, you’re about to get the best deal of your life.

Frankly, I loved it all.

A few years back, a few very, very early DAK catalogs (and other early audio catalogs) showed up on eBay and, boy, you bet I grabbed them quick.

Together, they tell the (unseen-by-me) story of early DAK.

In 1972, DAK was just one thing: tapes.

Drew actually got his start by buying super high-quality, but used, reel-to-reel tapes from recording studios for $1. He’d erase them, and sell them to his college classmates for $2. Eventually the studios ran out of tapes to sell him, and he paired up with manufacturers.

In 1972, he was still selling tapes…

…but look, now we have the first appearance of the iconic DAK Gill Sans Ultra Bold headline font!

Then, in 1981, a new format appeared called Sound Ideas. This was an interesting hybrid of tapes… and gadgets! This is the missing link, a kind-of prototype DAK Catalog.

“This catalog takes you on a journey through the never never land of new electronic technology. We think you’ll find more exciting and innovative new products assembled within the 52 pages of this catalog than in any other catalog or store in the world.”

Finally, one year later, in 1982, the first (?) DAK Catalog launched, and the rest is history.

According to the Los Angeles Times in 1988, “Kaplan claims 2 million active customers, and Arnold Fishman, who runs Marketing Logistics, a direct-marketing services firm near Chicago, pegs DAK’s sales at $120 million last year and growing 20% a year. […] His friends estimate that Kaplan mails out more than 10 million catalogs.”

But as I began to collect these DAK Catalogs, another catalog showed up in my search, and my whole world view was thrown into chaos.

I learned about a guy named Joseph Sugarman.

Joe was a copywriter. A pitchman. A one-man sales force. An unstoppable entrepreneur.

In the early-to-mid 70’s, Joe wrote and ran gadget print ads that he ran in Scientific American, like like this:

Eventually, Joe decided to put his ads together into a print catalog. At first, he called it “Our Space-age Product Catalog”

And to be honest, it all felt.. so familiar.

The headline. The section headers. The snappy copy. The almost-too-honest pitch. The closing price. You see it, right?

It was all there, seemingly long before DAK.

Then, in 1977, Joe upped his catalog game, and launched a brand new catalog: Products That Think.

Here’s how he introduced it to the world.

“In the next twelve months more microelectronic products will be introduced to the consumer than in any other phase of the micro-electronic revolution. How do you find out about these products? […] JS&A will produce its first major catalog listing the newest consumer micro-electronic products that we feel represent the best contributions to micro-electronic technology.”

The Products That Think catalog was really special.

The gadgets were unique, like this LED VFD display ($395!)

And sometimes there were more photos than copy.

Joe’s writing could also be a little bit zippier than Drew’s. And he could be very, very funny.

“About the only redeeming feature of this product is that we don’t have huge quantities to sell. The importer is afraid to order too many for fear that nobody in their right mind would buy it, let alone sell it, so we only have a few hundred to offer as part of this test program.”

And it was beautiful. He would often use whole pages for full-bleed, incredible photos.

Just relax, scroll slowly, and soak these beauties in.

Reading these catalogs were a revelation for me.

And I’ll be honest with you: I was rattled.

You see, I had always assumed that Drew Alan Kaplan invented this genre. But now I wondered if DAK was inspired, a remix, and maybe Joe blazed this trail?

Now quickly obsessed, I picked up copies of three books Joe had written about copywriting: “Advertising Secrets of the Written Word”, “Marketing Secrets of a Mail Order Maverick” and “Television Secrets for Marketing Success”.

I inhaled these books. Although ocassionally dated, they contained a wealth of information, and served as a great breakdown for a style of copywriting I had only ever absorbed through reading the catalogs.

(Although his books are out-of-print, they seem to be available for Kindle! And a condensed version, “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook”, is available on Apple Books.)

Here’s some Joseph Sugarman trivia I learned:

  • He claims to be the first person to ever accept credit cards over the phone, inventing an entirely new type of sales. Nobody else was crazy enough to shoulder the risk: with credit card processing done via the mail, it’d be months after shipping an item before he knew if the charge actually went through.
  • Years later, Joseph created a product called BluBlocker®, which became a absolute smash hit that’s still available today. He sold BluBlocker® by creating what he says was the world’s first ever late-night informercial. (I can still perform the rap by heart.) More.
  • Joe also once marketed a failed product called the Bone-Fone® and if you ever visit the Panic office, ask to try the Bone-Fone®. I will say no more at this time.

So, did DAK inspire Products That Think? And before that, did the JS&A ads inspire DAK? Or were both coincidentally born from the same pastel-colored 80’s miasma?

The answer was waiting in plain sight: an amazing interview Drew did with executive coach Jay Abraham back in 1998, right after the end of DAK. (Transcript.)

Drew: What happened [with DAK] was that an event changed my life.

Jay: What was the event?

Drew: The event was very simple. It was a man. Name’s Joe Sugarman.

Jay: I know Joe.

Drew: Probably the greatest copywriter, really the greatest promoter. And a great gentleman, real good friend of mine. I went to one of his seminars.

Jay: What did you get out of that seminar? You attended, what, four times?

Drew: I attended the seminar four times. I must be a slow learner. The first time was exciting; the second time was really great. But life’s experience helps a lot, because the first time, I hadn’t written that kind of advertising. The second time I had. By the third and fourth times, I was busy writing hundreds of ads, and each time, my enthusiasm would be raised to such fever levels. I came home ecstatic – ready to write.

I want you to know that Joe Sugarman’s seminars changed my life. And he changed the life of a lot of other people who attended his seminar. And I learned a lot. It was the seminal difference between normal writing… and what he unleashed with me was the ability to write ads like “Illegitimate Child for a Headset.” The “Can You Be Bribed?” ad, I wrote after that seminar.

And there you have it.

Drew didn’t invent this style, Joe did. But Drew took it, ran with it, and gave full credit for it.

The student became the master. And the master continued to be the master. And we all won. Or, at least, I did.

I have so many other questions, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever learn more.

Drew Alan Kaplan is… reclusive. The Los Angeles Times confirms this as far back as 1988:

Friends describe him as a loner who spends much of his time holed up in his $700,000, gadget-filled hillside home in Tarzana preparing his five or six catalogues a year.

“When he’s producing a catalogue, you can’t talk to him,” said one of his suppliers. “It can take 10 minutes to 10 months to get him on the phone.”

Kaplan, 41, rarely talks to the press and refuses to be photographed. “I’m not a publicity hound,” he said in a telephone interview, declining to be interviewed face-to-face. “No. Then you’d take a picture of me.”

I’ve still never found a single photo of him, even here in 2023. And I’ve never gotten an email reply from him either, other than a polite declination from a customer service rep. I dream of talking to him someday.

And Joseph Sugarman, although far more of a public figure and public speaker than Drew, didn’t reply to my occasional (probably too-eager) emails over the years either. And then, suddenly, quite sadly, I learned it was too late: Joseph passed away in March of 2022. You made a real impact on my life, Joe, without even knowing it.

Before anyone asks, yeah fine I guess The Sharper Image was also doing this stuff in the early 80’s, but without the incredible copywriting verve. It’s just not the same!

But, as an added bonus, I’m throwing in four vintage The Sharper Image catalogs into this post, at no extra cost.

Click any cover to read or download the full issue.

As the neon 80’s turned into the internet 90’s, DAK seemed to lose its footing.

Computers and IBM PC clones dominated our gadget imaginations. DAK rode the CD-ROM wave and rightfully sold its significance, but later catalogs soon became filled with music collections and software bundles.

And soon, it became clear there was trouble. In true DAK total-honesty form, it was front page news.

Running DAK is kind of like running an old family farm. First you borrow money from the bank to buy seeds. Then you work the land, and raise the crops.

Finally, you sell the crops, pay the bring you more exciting new products person who keeps his troubles to him-bank back and take care of your family.

Well at DAK, I borrow money to snap up bargains for you DAKonians. I write up all kinds of new products for the those special people who’ve reached out the ads, print the catalog and, then, you next couple of catalogs.

Finally, I pay off the bank, DAK grows each year and I take care of my family. It’s always worked great. Until now.

To hear Drew tell it, the issue was financial.

A weakening yen caused his sole Japanese lender, Tokai Bank, to pull their $18M line of credit in August 1992, and there was nowhere else to go. “I had never been able to find an American bank that liked the high volume/low margin business I had built”, Drew wrote on his website.

Worse, the bank owned the DAK trademark as collateral! So he couldn’t even be DAK anymore.

The Late Summer ’92 catalog letter continued:

This letter was really embarrassing for me to write. I’ve always been a private person who keeps his troubles to him-

self. Thankfully, I haven’t had to face this one alone. And, I’d like to thank those special people who’ve reached out in friendship.

Thank you, thank you. You DAK suppliers have been just wonderful. I couldn’t ask for a better group of friends.

In 1992, DAK filed for bankruptcy.

In 1994, it was gone.

It’s a fact. These catalogs deserve to live forever. I understand that I might be one of eight people on this planet who care. But they represent a lost art, with emphasis on the art.

And that’s why I’ve scanned every catalog I have.

Thanks to the help of my friend Kay Savetz, I now present to you over 55 (!) fully-scanned, 600 DPI DAK catalogs, stored safely on the Internet Archive for you to enjoy.

Best of all, there’s no charge for these downloads.

Plus, as a special added bonus, I’ve also included 9 very-rare Products That Think / JS&A catalogs, never before available on the internet.

Also provided totally free of charge.

I truly hope you enjoy them.

(yes, i continue to lose a lot of money on this blog. also thanks to my friend jason scott for helping to organize everything on the internet archive.)

Click any cover to read or download the full issue.

Click any cover to read or download the full issue.

It’s funny. Sometimes, things that seem so inconsequential and trivial when we’re growing up wind up shaping who we are in unexpected ways. Can you draw a straight line from the catalogs of my youth to my interest in making and selling things (like Playdate) today? I’d take that bet.

A friend of mine once remarked that the DAK catalogs, in some way, reminded them of TikTok videos, where people talk at length about products they love and why they love them. It’s just not written down and mailed to your house.

The gadget catalog may be no more, but our desire to share incredibly cool things with each other will never die.

Thank you for taking the time to read this very long post, and thank you for letting me share something I love.


PS: Here’s a bonus DAK bread recipe book for you. If you make any of this bread please tell me.

PPS: If you’re one of the eight people who enjoyed this post, please tell your friends. We must find all of us

PPPS: Turns out there are a lot more than eight of us

PPPPS: Do you want one of these catalogs? You’re in luck!! I’ve put my extras on eBay. Sold out! Thank you to everyone who bought a catalog, and I hope they bring you as much joy as they bring me.

Leave a Reply

  1. mashby

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I had totally forgotten about these catalogs and seeing the first image just brought them all back. You unlocked a bundle of memories like a time capsule in a way that only Cabel can. You’re the best!

  2. Bromo Brown

    You are truly a one-of-a-kind, generous and sharing individual. I’m impressed by your enthusiasm and zest for life. I remember getting those catalogs in the mail and had no idea of their inherent value.

  3. Nate Henderson

    This is wonderful, thank you for this amazing archival effort Cabel! I grew up flipping through these catalogs and the prose made it so easy to dream of all the wonderful things I could do with technology. I think the only thing I ever actually got from DAK was a digital shortwave radio that I bugged my dad about enough that he caved and got me for Christmas.

  4. dfbills

    I certainly had similar feelings about the Sears Catalog, RadioShack Catalog, and later Crutchfield. Who can forget Brookstone, Hammacher Schlemmer, SkyMall, Computer Shopper or even the modern times ThinkGeek?

    1. Travis Butler

      Yes, I was thinking of the old RadioShack computer catalogs as I read the article. 🙂 At the time I started getting them, it was just the Model III, the Model II was still there, the first Pocket Computer was still going strong, and the Coco was just about to be introduced.

      I think I still have some of them around… will have to scan them one of these days.

  5. Hill Dweller

    Thanks for this awesomeness. Perhaps a little nitpicky but the display in the photo “like this LED display ($395!)” is actually a vacuum fluorescent display.

  6. BenignBeing

    Incredible…also your font looks like something a daisy wheel printer would print.

  7. mt

    Oh my goodness, I loved these catalogs as a kid! (loved catalogs and product info, I would send in those “circle the number” cards from the back of computer mags and try to get as many places to send me their promo stuff as possible).. My first microphone was from DAK, I believe the ad featured the group “The Limelighters” raving about how great it was. Also bought a tiny 9-volt battery powered (kinda crummy sounding) echo unit, too… they served me well in my home recording and high school band days… jesus, I think i may have brought that mic to college. wow. anyway… sigh… thanks so much for a great read and for for saving these catalogs.:)

    1. cabel

      Yes! The Limeliters!! Amazingly they’re still around, but they seem to use a different mic these days. 🙂

  8. John Harris

    I have two words to say about this post: “Protecto Enterprises.”

  9. John Harris

    (oops sorry, as it turns out, it’s “Protecto Enterprizes.”)

  10. dave

    My parents bought a later version of the bread machine (Turbo Baker II!). It was so weird to get a sandwich made from large half circles of bread.

    The cinnamon raisin bread was pretty good and we made it a lot.

    The basic white, whole wheat, and honey wheat were also winners, as I recall.

    I think we tried the egg bread too, and that was extremely fluffy.

    Dad found out later he doesn’t do well with gluten, so it went in the basement.

    I think they still have it and the book!

    1. max vater

      What is the name of thenBread Book

  11. Steve Prior

    Yes to all of that but you don’t go into details of what I think was his best marketing move of all time – the bread recipe book. He just sent out to all his customers this book of interesting bread recipes with instructions on making them by hand or with his new bread maker. This was especially clever because making bread by hand is a fair amount of work and most people who would do it at all would stick to recipes they had experience with and knew they’d work. But the recipes in his book were different and you’d read them and really want to try that bread, but is it worth trying by hand? So once he’s got your imagination you really want the bread maker. For the record I did make a few by hand and really liked them. I did eventually buy a machine but DAK was already history by then. I still have and use his recipe book though. And yes his Diet Rite Cola recipe really does work (I used Coke) – if you have nothing but a can of soda, yeast, and flour you end up with quite a normal looking/tasting loaf of bread.

  12. bob

    Thank you!

    DAK was _the_ source we relied on for inexpensive reel-to-reel tape during my undergraduate years. I can even remember making a run to the DAK store to pick up cases of blank tapes to supply my dorm-mates. Crucial for (what would now be considered pirating) from community LPs.

    Like you (and many others), I was enthralled by the catalog copy for the weird and wonderful items Drew located and made available. Truly a lost era.

  13. Lance

    OH man! As a kid I loved grabbing a copy of the DAK catalog whenever I saw it and pouring over all the cool gadgets I could never convince my parents to buy. 🙂

  14. Wren Truesong

    Dear Friend,
    You just answered a question about my childhood I’d vaguely wondered about but had no answers for. I was always wondering what those catalogs were, and where our bread maker we had as a kid was from. and then your article showed me the DAK logo, and it all made sense again!

    And yes, we made LOTS of those recipes. <3

  15. N Musolino

    Thank you so much for this work. I suspect the number of people invested in this post is a lot higher than six (I hope it is). I had previously looked for DAK (stymied at the time by vague search terms because I could not remember the actual name) but never came across anything. This is truly incredible research and presentation. I try not to retreat into Old Man Yells at Cloud stances, but I feel like it’s fair and reasonable to proclaim this post is the sort of thing we hoped for the ideal of what internet could be over the years, and I’m so pleased someone out there is still willing to rep for that. I challenge myself and anyone reading this that feels likewise to put something equal to this out there to pay it forward.

  16. Jack Thomas

    Thank you for a truly fantastic article! And wonderful photos. Very well done, Cable!

  17. Jim

    This is extraordinary

  18. Barry Roberts

    I had a DAK bread maker. I used if for about a year before I burned out the motor trying to make 100% whole wheat bread. Good ol’ Drew. The bread maker is the only thing I remember purchasing from DAK, but I read the catalogs for years.

  19. Dick

    I still have some of the cassette tapes. Also we had a bread machine. Looked like r2d2. Worked for years. I think I sent Drew money when he was in need. As a mailman in the 70s thru 2000, I saw all the good catalogs.

  20. Doug

    I rememeber buying the Cubo clock from JS&A as a Christmas gift for my brother. He said it lasted about a month before it died. What a piece of junk.
    Casio MQ-2? Still have mine, still works. I did have to check out the catalogs to find how much I paid for the Thunder Lizard Mistake Plus speakers I bought (and still use). Those speakers criss-crossed the country three times because UPS insisted my address didn’t exist. I finally had to ask DAK to send them as “WILL CALL” and put my work and home phone number on the boxes. Then I called UPS every day at noon to see if the speakers had arrived. (No tracking numbers back then.) On the day UPS finally acknowledged they had them, I took off work early to drive to their depot and pick them up and they couldn’t find them! After nearly an hour of waiting they found the speakers, already loaded onto a truck to be shipped back to DAK, even though the boxes had bright green stickers on them stating “DO NOT RETURN — CUSTOMER WILL PICK UP.” There’s probably more items I’ve forgotten about, these were just the most memorable. Thanks for bringing back those memories.

    1. Len Kawell

      My Mom worked for Joe Sugarman in the office at JS&A in Northbrook in the 1970’s and she got me a Cubo clock for my dorm room. I’ve had it on my nightstand ever since and it still works perfectly almost 50 years later.

  21. MR

    Your post nailed the copywriting style. Thank you.

  22. David J. Whelan

    This might be the best post ever written. It feels like it was written just for me, capturing my 80s teen years perfectly.

    I too can remember poring over each edition of DAK when it arrived. I don’t think I ever bought anything, but the journey was the reward.

    Later, as you point out, I turned my attentions to The Sharper Image. Even J. Peterman seems to owe a debt to Drew and Joe.

    I have a fuzzy memory of magazine ads (maybe in Games or Omni or magazines I was not supposed to read) that focused on what a great deal the customer was getting, with a common phrase like “frankly we’re losing our shirts.” Was that DAK? Crutchfield? Something else?

  23. Chris Parrish

    What a joy Cabel! I lived for these catalogs when I was a teenager. The cheap 1200 baud ADC modem I purchased from DAK and paired with my Apple ][ in the 80’s surely changed my destiny profoundly.

    Thanks for curating these and providing a sweet nostalgic ride.

  24. Matthew Diamond

    Great blast from the past! I didn’t see that many DAK catalogs but the ones I did see I read cover to cover. I particularly remember the story of him twisting the arm of some band he knew to use his bargain microphones at one of their gigs. (And of course the radar detector.)

    I fell out of love with DAK a bit after I bought a digital telephone answering machine from them. The idea was great: random access instead of linear tape. But it felt cheap and the message capacity was too small.

    Thanks for the memories!

  25. John F Morton

    I love this post and all of the scans you’ve shared. THANK YOU!


    Bravo! Great story of a bygone day.

  27. Phillip Winn

    There are definitely more than eight of us. There are dozens of us, dozens!

  28. GS

    Great read! I still have my DAK “power controller” for managing power to my PC accessories. My brother used to get the catalog, and I’d always read through them. I’ll have to look through the archives you’ve provided to find any I distinctly remember.

  29. Dave Rutledge

    It’s amazing to finally get the full story of DAK! I have a ridiculous reason for having known some of this already – we devoured these in elementary school. A good friend of mine in was also a serial liar in things that didn’t at all matter, and he repeatedly, confidently claimed to be the nephew of the guy who ran DAK. 10-year-old me spent months trying to track down any way to completely confirm he was lying but in those pre-Web days that was challenging and limited and I had to admit I couldn’t completely rule out the possibility. (Any idea if he had siblings?!)

    Boy, I loved getting these catalogs. I hadn’t thought about it at all before but it is so clear to see the line from these to the voice we developed at Woot (and later Meh).

    1. Asci

      I was too young to have my own first-hand nostalgia for these catalogs, though I am certain they came to our house. But about halfway through reading this wonderful post (thanks, Cabel!), it occurred me that Woot must have been a descendant of the DAK tradition — followed immediately by the twin realizations that old-time Woot was *my* DAK catalog, and that you can’t treasure copies of old e-commerce sites the way you can printed ephemera. So thank *you* for creating a differently flavored world, also in service of selling (cheap) stuff, that nevertheless entranced teenaged me. I don’t know if it’s good business or not to be so creatively generous, but I’m grateful.

  30. Bill

    Wow, thanks Cabel, you just took me back in time. I somehow got one of these catalogs in middle school and obsessed over a graphic equalizer for Christmas; the one I got was the BSR Smart Sound Detonator. The ad copy promised it would make my music explode. As I recall it worked….OK, but seemed like it cut into the signal from the amplifier and made things muddier, no matter how much I fooled with it. But oh, those red light-up sliders. I haven’t thought of this in decades, but this was an excellent gift on a gray Tuesday.

  31. Rick Brown

    Thank you Cabel. I had totally forgotten about these catalogs and how I loved reading them in my teens and early twenties. I actually bought the dbx speakers. They sounded terrible. I think it was because their impedance was too low for my amplifier, but I was able to return them. Seeing these catalogs again brings back so many memories. Thank you!

  32. Jason Sturgill

    I really want to see the photo of the three men and their device recreated for a PlayDate promotional photograph.

  33. Devon Bleak

    We had the bread maker and regularly made the honey buttermilk bread – it was great. Only issue we had was sometimes it would over-rise and get stuck to the glass lid.

  34. Michael M

    Thank you! DAK was my childhood and teens. I read every word. This is all good memories.

  35. Darin Pierce

    I had forgotten the thrill. I was proud to support the elevated lifestyles of these characters. I found working at Bose very similar.

  36. Danny Palmer

    Kind of remind me of the Stauer (?) adds I see for jewelry & watches.

  37. Kelly Haggett

    OK, this article is so great – thank you.

  38. Don

    Early on I bought a pair of “Think Speaks” from the DAK catalog. They were basically walkie talkies that were vox controlled used a head set with microphone and speaker, instead of a handheld mic. My brother and I would walk around in stores talking to each other with people giving us weird looks, wondering why we were talking to ourselves. I remember thinking the same thing the first time I saw a guy with a bluetooth on his cell phone maybe 20 years later. I LOVED getting the DAK catalog!

  39. Rob Klingberg

    Thank you so much for sharing the memories of DAK. I’d completely forgotten about this chapter in tech history, but now, looking through these catalogs, I see so many products my dad bought from the catalogs and we had around our house growing up. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime period in history, and it’s awesome to have it all back here in digital form.

  40. Jim

    I loved getting the DAK catalogs in the mail. I still have, and use, the last item that I bought from the catalog in 1992. It’s an AM/FM/ SW portable radio. It went to Europe with me in 1993, came back with me in 1998, and moved with me three more times since then. It still works, and I still use it!

  41. Tammy

    Apparently, according to Wikipedia, “After a few years hiatus, Kaplan founded a successor business online, DAK 2000. He got back the website from the Drew Kaplan Agency, Inc. after a May 2000 arbitration. In 2012 Kaplan, now aged 66, sold the business to his longtime associate, Sol Harari, and retired from business altogether. Under Harari, DAK has continued to advertise electronics products using Kaplan’s distinctive, personal and hyperverbal style. According to the company’s current website, it is now located in Brooklyn, New York.” appears to be live even still, though I think it’s harder to have the impact on an e-commerce Web site that those printed catalogs did.

  42. Jerry Kindall

    I loved me some DAK when I was a young nerd. Mainly saw his ads (and JS&A’s) in magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science. I intentionally channeled his writing style when I had an opportunity to write some direct mail pieces, which were surprisingly successful. To me, the fun thing about this style of advertising is the sheer amount of text on the page. It shows a real understanding of his market. His customers wanted the details on the kind of things he was selling and were willing to wade through all that text to get them. Indeed, if the rest of his customers were anything like me, they ENJOYED reading DAK’s ads. But the marketing gurus say that you just shouldn’t have much writing in an ad.

  43. John Beatty

    I remember the Maxon/Escort challenge and I did buy the Maxon and used it many, many years. I had upgraded to a Bell but still use the bag the Maxon came in for my Garmin GPS. Thank you sir, good read.

  44. Parker Ackley

    Thank you Cabel for a memory. I purchased a few items from DAK; I remember a small dot matrix printer, our first VCR, and of course the bread maker (which we still have but haven’t used in years).

    I seem to remember reading that one of California’s wild fires severely crippled DAK because it burned his warehouse. He vowed to make a comeback, which he sort of did, but then, as you reported, he had a problem with the bank, and that finished DAK. Then after several years he started DAK 2000 as his real comeback, but it just wasn’t the same.

  45. IB

    Thank you so much for this. My dad worked for JS&A in Northbrook, IL when I was a little kid in the early 1980s and would talk over the dinner table about what a bad businessman Joe Sugarman was. One time, we went to pick up at work. As we were leaving, a bearded guy walked by the other side of a glass room divider and my dad said “that’s Joe.” And I replied (apparently very loudly) “Joe Sugarman the moron?!”

    I think my older cousin got his Bone Fone from my dad, who had also worked for Ron Popeil at Ronco at one point

  46. Heather

    Oooooh! Thank you for the memories! I LOVED the DAK catalogs. Don’t remember now what else, but I bought my first computer from DAK—a Bondwell B310 with 40MB hard drive.

  47. dennis Z

    Got a good chuckle from this article, especially seeing the Beamscope product ad. I used to have a small electronics store in the mid 80’s and I demonstrated and sold the Beamscope to my walk in retail customers. It was a cheaply made plastic fresnel lens that you mounted in front of your TV to make it appear larger. It worked, with limitations, but I found I’d rather sell my customers a new 25” TV, which was big in those days, than a cheaper 19” TV with a $59 Beamscope. After my initial order, I did not restock and soon after larger more affordable TVs became the norm and never looked back.

  48. Timothy J Weber

    I was just last night explaining to my partner about the DAK catalog, motivated by the BSR automated turntable I had just inherited that I’m sure my stepfather got from DAK. My dad taped all his vinyl onto DAK cassettes as soon as he got them. Etc. This was my childhood.

    I made recipes from that bread book for years, by the way, in the DAK bread maker. Worked great!

  49. Tyler

    This is fantastic and might make an incredible post on Fonts In Use (.com), in some form or another. I’m just a fan, but I’d be more than happy to help. Let me know if you’d ever be interested.

  50. Rich

    I worked for DAK for 2 years. The inner-goings of the company were just as interesting as the catalogs. A lot of great people and cool gadgets. I cut my teeth on computers there and will never forget it.

  51. Gil Kemp

    A wonderful post! As someone who spent 40 years in direct marketing, you capture a fabulous segment of the business. But all three gentlemen owe a debt to the copywriter John Caples who in the 1920s wrote one of the best direct-marketing ads ever:,is%20famous%20for%20a%20reason.

  52. Dale Atchison

    Great write-up! I remember how excited I got each time a new DAK catalog arrived. I read every ad, bought my first data CD-ROM drive and a very nice set of stereo speakers from Drew; I still have the speakers, at least 30 years later. And I believe there are probably some DAK catalogs in the boxes I moved down from Nashville with in Y2k… haven’t gotten around to going thru them yet, so I suppose I didn’t really need to bring them with me.

  53. Darryl Lee

    I *loved* the DAK catalog. So happy to see there are definitely more than eight of us.

    Minor typo in your transcription of Drew’s final plea. It should say:
    > I write the ads, print the catalog and then, you step in and acquire the products.

  54. J

    That is some awesome shit!
    Takes me back.

  55. Rene

    I loved the DAK catalogus
    Thank you for reminding me

  56. Johann Visagie

    Oh wow. When I came to the Joe Sugerman part of the post, I was overwhelmed by the most incredible déjà vu. It took a quick Google to confirm my suspicion: Joe was responsible for a 1985 ad that I found in some American magazine (Popular Science?) for the Atari ST, which *almost* derailed my teenage self’s determination to buy a Commodore Amiga. It led to me doing some extra months of research (hard work, pre-internet!) to assure myself that the Amiga was what I really wanted, and that Joe’s ad copy — while not factually *wrong* — was expertly tuned to cast the ST in the most positive light possible. Even now, seeing that ad again, I can recite it almost word for word. How many times must I have read that!

    Here it is:

    Thank you so much for writing this. These catalogues are part of a world I never knew of, growing up far away from it all. But even so, the *one* advertisement I did read obviously had a profound effect on me.

    1. Fred

      Clever made comparison. The author left out under “Features” all the areas (graphics, sound) and hardware specs (Amigas special microchips) in which the Amiga was much stronger than the ST.

  57. Nick

    Beautiful, incredible. Thank you for all of this 🙂

  58. Bob Back

    Loved those catalogs!

  59. Lizabeth Lottmann

    I have many of the DAK products. They are simple, straightforward, and not hard to learn how to use. He was always ready to have a conversation online, and such a nice guy.

  60. Cate

    Absolutely fantastic! I’m studying this copywriting style fully as I immerse myself in these catalogues you’ve generously shared here. Thank you for this wonderful story and collection. Now I’m off to make some bread!

  61. Matthew Hayward

    My DAK google alert fired, and it was better than I dared hope – you are a prince among men!

  62. Dave Rissik

    I’m left with a feeling of melancholy – all that inventiveness and business acumen churning out stuff which, if not collecting dust in some attic or cupboard, is now incohate plastic, silcon and metals residing in some landfill. Such is the march of technology! Who would have thought that today’s smartphone would accomplish so many of the functions in those many items in such few years?

  63. DKK

    What an epic dissertation on a bygone era! Like others, this unearthed long-forgotten memories from my teen years in the 1980’s – I vividly recall the Maxon vs Escort comparison, and many others seem familiar.. Reading DAK’s writing style 40 years later, it still is compelling to me. Thanks for putting together such a detailed trip down memory lane!

  64. Michael Sippey

    Oh my. This is glorious; i remember these so vividly. Thank you thank you thank you.

  65. Philip Cherry

    Thank you for the blast from the past! I probably still have some blank DAK cassette tapes around here somewhere. The catalog as a genre has largely been supplanted by the website, but few websites have the draw that the DAK catalog did.

    There are others. I was gifted a 1966 Triumph Spitfire by my older brother, and I spent more time underneath it than I did driving it. Where did I go for my obscure parts? The J. C. Whitney catalog, of course! The J. C. Whitney catalog was a pulp-paper catalog listing probably millions of parts for practically any car imaginable. I may have to do for them what this does for the DAK catalog.

    What a great time to grow up (to the extent that that ever happened).

  66. Dr. Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod

    Wonderful! I still have some DAK-sold speakers in my garage (they are truly enormous). I recall with great sadness going to his clear-out sale at the San Fernando Valley HQ when it all went south. In my childhood family, we always referred to him as “Cousin Drew” whenever a new catalog arrived. He was probably not even distantly related, Kaplan being a fairly common name, but it fit the mood of personal connection that so many folks had with him.

    One influence / antecedent that I’d have thought would have been mentioned in the comment stream at least: “The Whole Earth Catalog”. Stewart Brand certainly injected a lot of fairly profound philosophy and lively personality in his own wonderful catalog write-ups, which are now legendary (and also publicly archived).

  67. Don Morris

    Ah, what a great glimpse back into my child-/young adulthood years. Thank you for this, Cabel! So many memories.

  68. Erik MH

    Magnificent! Thank you so much for all of this! Like so many others, I dropped everything else when the DAK catalog showed up in the mailbox — to the detriment of my homework, often. For many years, it was my sole source for cassette tape. I loved that they had strange lengths available; the 72- and 82-minute tapes were great for recording both sides of an album without leaving huge gaps at the end….

    I remember many years later my Dad telling me they’d gone belly-up. I think he loved those catalogs even more than I did. He’d have been so pleased by your write-up and collection!

  69. Bill

    Cabel, you are a dream.

  70. Jim Stageman

    These catalogs always reminded me of a slightly kooky neighbor, but they did make an impression on me! I also got a kick out of the slightly hyperbolic ZEOS PC ads of the 1990s.

  71. Jason Sewell

    Wow. I have been hoping someone would do this. DAK was a huge part of my childhood. There were so many instances of begging, and in some cases succeeding, in getting my parents to buy some gadget or another from DAK.

    As I flip through these online catalogs now, there are items that I would swear I had owned. Perhaps I just read the copy so many times and stared at the pictures so long that it feels like I had them.

    One November, I convinced my dad to buy the family a computer from DAK as a Christmas gift. It was a 286, and it came with a printer and a mountain of software, perhaps even on a CD ROM. But the computer never came. Every few weeks, we’d receive a letter about it being on back order. Eventually, Christmas came and went without the computer, and we cancelled the order, deciding to buy one locally instead.

    So, we visited the local Computer World (I think) to find a similar PC. We tested a few, but then something caught my eye. It was a Macintosh Classic. My dad initially dismissed it (“it’s not even color!”), but I was intrigued.

    Within 90 seconds of sitting down in front of that Macintosh, I knew it was the one for us. The crisp, small screen, the compact shape and size of the unit, and the sound of the floppy disk captivated me. A few minutes later, we left the store with the Classic, a StyleWriter, and copies of MacWrite and MacPaint.

    In this indirect way, DAK was pivotal in steering me towards the platform that I still use to this day. That Mac Classic is still proudly sitting on a shelf in my room, a testament to a formative moment in my technological journey. Thanks, DAK.

  72. Stuart Frederich-Smith

    Love this, thank you. Another likely descendent is sites like Meh, and the former Woot. Similar candor and zippy copywriting. So few words in most big brand advertising today, but clear and engaging writing is still wonderful.

  73. ruurd

    Hah. You’re already at 10, no 11 🙂

  74. nbc

    I loved those DAK catalogs! The long-form writing was like a conversation with a very smart friend, one who always found the best bargains and was willing to share them.

    Sharper Image had the length but not the personality or the perceived relationship with the reader.

    The other catalog that sorta-kinda fits in this category was Cambridge SoundWorks. Try explaining fair-trade pricing to anyone these days. It made no sense back then and even less now.

    1. Craig Bradley

      Thanks. What a delightful trip down memory lane.

  75. matt.

    I too was obsessed by the DAK catalogs. This is amazing. Thank you for your service.

  76. Nick

    Wow this was fantastic and so fun to read. A little before my time but still hit the right nostalgia buttons in my brain. Thanks for writing this.

  77. Timothy E Robertson

    I read a few of these back in the day, but for me it was also Stereo Review. It was my reading that, in fact, that led to my starting an ezine in 1994 (now just a website, I never lost the bug, but for me its moved into talking about stuff on the podcast (TechFan) rather than write it down. (lost the time to do so… damn adulthood…)

  78. Steve Klein

    I bought the DAK bread maker. It was cylindrical in shape (looking vaguely like R2D2), and produced cylindrical loaves of bread.

    I’d cut them in half from top to bottom, and get two semicircular sections. Then I’d slice them into semicircular slices.

    I also bought a very weird Walkman-like cassette player for which DAK sold audiobooks.

    Using a 90-minute cassette, they’d record at ½ normal speed, to double the length of the recording. But the special trick was that they’d record separate parts on the left and right channel.

    It worked like this:
    Part 1: A-side, left channel
    Part 2: B-side, left channel
    Part 3: A-side, right channel
    Part 4: B-side, right channel

    They could fit 6 hours of audio on each cassette, which was enough for most audiobooks.

    There was a switch to select the left or right channel, and the audio would play through. Its earphones.

    The sound quality was truly dreadful. But since it was spoken-word audio, it was (barely) tolerable.

  79. iacas

    Well worth the wait! Thank you.

  80. Willi Percy

    Never heard of DAK but thank you for bringing it to my attention. The JVC 3060 looked familiar but I never owned one. The Blue Banana was pitch was a fun read. Never took up tennis.

    1. Wiiliam

      My name is William and I disown that errant ‘was’.

  81. Dave2

    Boy did this bring back memories. I was rarely able to order anything… I was in high school… but I obsessed over every catalog and looking at all these products I remember very well was a lot of fun. Thanks!

  82. Erik

    Oh wow, I had forgotten how much I loved these. 🙂 I bought a few things from them and I think I even got a box of their tapes, but stayed with Maxell for the most part. I’m also pretty sure I saw the JS&A catalogs as well, either my father or my college roommate had some.

    Thanks so much for bringing back memories I’d completely buried.

  83. Howard

    What an absolute blast from the past!

  84. Doug

    Thanks for highlighting Joe Sugarman’s work. I first met Joe in 1973. He had taken out a full page advertisement In Advertising Age about his mother dying of cancer. He declared himself the highest paid copywriter in the world and offer his services for free to any agency that would donate their services to the American Cancer Society. He was walking through a trade show when I saw his badge and I stopped him to tell him how much I admired what he had done. When a friend of mine became his agent in the 1990’s we all ended up having dinner together. He told stories about working for the CIA and promoted unique theories about politics and investing. He was an very original thinker. We spoke several times over the years about product. He was always kind and insightful. Blu Blockers made him a lot of money.

  85. John Verberkmoes

    Amazing. Remember being super excited to get these when I was a child. I had a big pile of them in my closet. Would spend rainy afternoons paging through them.

  86. Harry McCracken

    Thank you, Cabel, this is marvelous.

    I read my father’s DAK catalogs, so I associate the company with him as much as I do Drew. I’m not sure if he ever bought anything, but I remember him marveling at the idea of “Dakonians,” so I know he was paying attention.

    How much do we know about Drew’s later revival of DAK as a web-bases business, which continues on today, operated by a guy named Sol? It’s theoretically similar to the original, but the ad copy doesn’t have the same flair, and the products are pedestrian. It may be that nobody makes DAK-caliber stuff anymore.

    It also occurred to me that Woot and Meh may be the closest things we have to modern DAKs: Somewhat odd products sold with wordy, quirky sometimes refreshingly honest copy.

  87. Kid Beyond

    Wow. You just opened a wormhole into my childhood brain.

    Seeing these catalogs brings so many memories flooding back…

    Thank you for your dedicated, playful, stunning work.

    p.s. We had that Mickey Mouse phone. It was awesome.

  88. Benjamin

    I loved the DAK catalogs. One product I desperately wanted was a boombox with dual cassette decks AND a third removable walkman-style unit. When I asked my mother to buy me the Menage a trois, I had no idea why she was laughing.

  89. Phil

    What o gift! THanks so much for all the work you did.

  90. Tim

    I, regrettably, don’t remember ever seeing the DAK catalog, but I do remember the Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard. I was completely bereft of musical talent, but I had a higher purpose in mind for this instrument: using the sampling feature to record my farts and play them back in different pitches and apply cool effects to them. I bet I wasn’t the only one.

  91. Mike

    I have such fond memories of perusing DAK catalogs when I was back in college. Thank you for this trip down memory lane!

  92. Art

    Fantastic, thank you. I’m surprised you’re old enough to have been aware of these catalogues. Your DAK level enthusiasm has ensured they will live on.

  93. Dan grobstein

    I don’t think that I ever ordered anything from DAK (I bought a lot of reel-to-reel tapes from Saxitone in Washington DC. They were the cheapest price I could find, and I believe that they didn’t have free fair trade laws there.)

    I remember when JS&A went out of business they sent out a catalog selling off their equipment. One of the items was the snowplow that they used to plow their parking lot. There was an essay in the catalog complaining about the difference between the government’s handling of the JC Whitney bankruptcy versus the JS&A bankruptcy. JS&A got a raw deal.

  94. Michael Kaplan

    Lots of other catalogs continued the copy-heavy, conversational tone to one extent or another. Two of my favorites were Lands’ End (at least before Sears bought and neutered the brand) and Pacific Stereo, an LA-based chain. I actually interviewed with Pacific Stereo as a junior copywriter back around 1987-1988. Alas, I didn’t get the job.

  95. Mark H

    Another catalog with a similar- though slightly different- style was the Banana Republic Travel and Safari Catalogue, written more as a “this is what we discovered in our travels.” Which the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer seems the spiritual successor to.

  96. Charlie Indelicato

    I must have bought hundreds of DAK cassette tapes, at least two bread machines, and assorted other items in my youth.

  97. Geoff Chalk

    As a teenager into electronics the DAK catalog was an important read. If i remember correctly, DAK debuted the Zoom modem with a long comparison of Zo0om vs Hayes. I got my first 2400 baud modem from DAK and then my 9600baud modem, them dreamed about the 19.2K modems, Now we think 100mbs is slow..

  98. Tim P

    I became a Dakonian in the early 80s. I received a catalog while in college and, being a gadget guy, I went overboard a bit. I bought two things that were memorable. One is the portable TV shown above. I still have it in a room I have filled with gadgets of a bygone era – a portable TV, a bagphone, a Compaq backpack computer, a cellphone brick (just like Gordon Gecko carried!), typewriters, and such. The other item is in my office, where it still functions perfectly; a Kenwood KR-8050 receiver. It is huge, weighs a ton, heats the room a few degrees if you leave it on… but it sounds as great as it did in 1984 while playing through a pair of vintage JBL studio monitors.

  99. William Reynolds

    Thanks for a great article, and nicely done in the spirit of DAK! I loved those catalogs, and ordered a few things from them back in the day. I also seem to think that a cupboard somewhere might contain a DAK booklet of recipes for bread machines, which were a new thing once upon a time. I’ll have to do some excavating.

    In the 1980s I was a magazine editor, and I’d say every single issue we produced had a quarter-page ad for JS&A. But I don’t think I ever did any personal business with them.

    Again, well done—I enjoyed your post a lot!

  100. Paul

    OMG, this brings back so many memories and past purchases. Loved, loved, loved my DBX satellite/subwoofer system and still have it today!!!!!

  101. Jonathan Duke

    I remember seeing both companies’ ads in airline magazines when I traveled with my parents.

    Never bought anything, but it was always entertaining to read.

    One ad for, IIRC, halogen headlights required the you sign an agreement that you would convert your vehicle to a garbage truck at some point as supposedly halogen headlights were legal for those and not normal passenger vehicles.

    And now I know the rest of the story…

  102. Dan Koeppel

    OMG, this is brilliant. In 1983, I was a new college graduate and was hired by Marvel Comics to create one of the first video game magazines. The magazine was called “Blip” and it lasted seven or eight issues. I was a DAK customer and tried to model what we did after Drew’s copy, but my editor – who’d come from educational publishing – didn’t get it. More than 30 years later, I became one of the executive editors of Wirecutter, and immediately noticed the DNA between Drew’s intimate copy, and the way it involved the reader, with what Wirecutter was doing. If he’s not the father of that affiliate marketing model, he’s certainly the uncle. Thanks for the story.

  103. Tom Moore

    I *loved* these catalogs when I was a kid. Loved the stuff, loved Drew’s voice, loved having a cool gadget no one else had ever seen. I will be downloading and perusing these important bits of my youth with great, great pleasure. Thank you for this.

  104. Jeff D

    Wow, what a flashback! I used to love getting these back in the late 80s early 90s
    I still have a dbx passive subwoofer in my garage, 15″! Might have to hook it up and see if it still works..

  105. Slow Joe Crow

    That brings back memories, my father subscribed to Scientific American in the 80s, where JS&A and DAK advertised so we got the DAK catalog. Dad also bought the Thunder Lizard speakers and a Sansui stereo which was a windfall for me since I got his AR turntable and KLH receiver. The Sharper Image and the later J Peterman catalogs were more objects of derision where DAK was a source of interest.

  106. Dan Spitzer

    Man did this ever bring back memories.
    I think I spent every penny I earned in the 80’s with DAK.
    Drew was so far ahead of his time!
    Thank you for your efforts in preserving this amazing piece of history.

  107. Mike Campbell

    As so many others have said … Thank you for this article and the memories. Now I wonder if I kept any of the DAK catalogs that I received way back when. The radar detector wars … I bought a Maxon just because of Drew. I had a Volkswagen van that would struggle to get to 55mph on the highway. Didn’t need the radar detector, but thanks, Drew.

  108. Michael

    I dig it! Best of all was your devolution from reporting the facts to a DAKonian fevered sales pitch! THOROUGHLY enjoyed this entire post! and in the FWIW column, I think Audion should have been the winner…


    I guarantee my father got many of these catalogs – that font is burned into my brain.

  110. vdepdel

    a twitter bot for these posters would be very cool

  111. Library_Jim

    Just…wow. Thanks

    1. sgrumb

      Wow is right. I was addicted to the DAK catalog and still purchase from them today. I had their subwoofer and DBX speakers and am using the sub in my room system.

      I also still have a JS&A Bone Fone!!! LOL so you’re not the only one Cabel

      Sending this as a reply Jim since I can’t figure out how to comment. Got to this blog from the Elevator Newsletter

  112. Chris Magee

    I loved DAK! I used to buy their blank cassettes, and I bought a bunch of their other products: BSR speakers (how I miss them!), a Walkman-style cassette player, and my very first PC was from DAK. I just purchased a pair of Bluetooth speakers (they pair to do stereo!) from the resurrected DAK – they’re great!

  113. Doug

    This is fantastic! (and deliciously meta) My family and some of my friends’ families received the DAK catalog. As a geeky teenage boy and someone always looking for a bargain, and someone more interested in reading the yellow pages than anything my teacher assigned, I was totally transfixed with every new issue.

    However, the few times we ordered something, it never arrived, and our money was eventually refunded after like a year, and I had heard the same thing from other people. I eventually assumed it was a scam and he was keeping the interest on our money, which in the 1980s was significant. Did anyone actually receive any merchandise from DAK?

  114. bill

    Pretty sure I still have one of those radar detectors lying around here somewhere. In the late 80s, we just referred to them as “7-11 detectors”….

  115. openreels

    Wow, a total blast from my past! Yes, the original DAK cassettes (back when that really mattered), and then the crazy catalogs. It was a different time for consumer electronics, both technologically and psychologically. A good time to be a middle-class kid who liked techie stuff. Thanks for all the research and enthusiasm. I suspect there are museums that might be interested in your collection one day!

  116. Matt

    What a total treasure trove! Thank you!

  117. Teresa Ann Wilkins

    I loved the DAK catalogs and had a breadmaker I bought through them. It made the best loaves, but alas I no longer have the machine or the recipe book.

  118. wpidentity

    Thanks. But it reminds me that I have no idea where my bread maker is.

  119. Stephen Shankland

    I bought a DAK bread maker ca. 1991 and used it for years, baking several of the recipes in the book. I stopped using it more than a decade later after it walked itself off my kitchen counter (with stiff bread dough, the rotary motion of the mixing paddle in could make the thing rock around a bit). My sister, who had bought one on my recommendation, inherited my slightly damaged but still workable machine after hers croaked. (If you haven’t listened to the Alvvays song “Archie, Marry Me,” it’s got a great line about bread makers.)

    My dad bought a Bone Fone. I tried it and was unimpressed.

    I wrote a critical assessment of the Sharper Image ad copy for an 11th grade essay after reading George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language.” Even though I dinged Sharper Image in my essay, I admit to having read many, many of their catalogs.

    Thank you for this particular labor of love. The nostalgia washed over me.

  120. Tony

    I absolutely LOVED this post! I was born in 1971 and going through High School and College from 1985 to 1993 I was a DAK fanatic! I bought everything from Console Stereo Systems, Cordless Phones, Calculators and all the way to my first IBM 386 Clone computer from DAK.

    I loved the balance between Sales Pitch and real hard core product review for each item. Plus the prices were amazing!

    Thanks for giving me a few minutes of nostalgia.