There are these play, pause, stop, forward, backward, record buttons everywhere. According to Wikipedia there is also an iso about them (ISO/IEC 18035.).

But where did they originate from? What was the first device they were used on? Also the original designer would be of interest to me and whether were forgotten alternative designs.


1 Answer 1


Apparently they first appeared on reel to reel tape machines in the 1960s. The Play Arrow would indicate the direction of travel of the tape. Fast-forward and backward would be indicated by doubled arrows. See this post on imgur.

  • Interestingly the new generations will not experience these devices or might experience totally different devices but music is something that children want to know how to use from such a young age that they will see their parents use something like spotify and they will make the same connection with the symbols you would make if you owned a walkman. However they will probably miss the audio experience, the click of the button. May 11, 2016 at 1:51

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