Originally Posted by m. zillch
Black was completely unheard of in the early years yet is now the defacto standard. For ten points, everyone, explain the specifics of how and why black electronics came to be so popular. It's a very interesting story.
Back in the 40s /50s/60s audio components were usually silver and sometimes champagne. Black was unheard of or at least rare.
During this same period professional photographers discovered a new lucrative trade: becoming a paparazzi. Back then the big money was in getting a photograph of a celebrity in a nightclub with their mistresses or in some other compromising position they wouldn't want to be photographed doing. Big cameras with flashes were too conspicuous to work with in the dark clubs so instead they migrated to smaller cameras and fast film, including the new category called SLRs, which could be carried inconspicuously in large coat pockets and removed only when the shot was taken.
They were trying to be as stealthy as possible and holding up a shiny silver
box in the dark club was more noticeable than a black box so they applied black tape to the outer surfaces and some even had their camera bodies professionally anodized black. Companies like Nikon noticed this trend and wondered if maybe simply making the cameras in black would appeal to at least this crowd, so indeed some cameras were soon produced in this new all black color scheme and sold for a modest up-charge.
When these hit the store display cases customers would ask, "What's up with those more expensive black cameras?" and they would be told, "Those aren't really meant for you, actually, they are for professionals
: Customers now associated the color black with "professional" and that means (to them) "better". [Think of how many audio products have the word "Pro" in their very name, after all.]
Nikko and other audio companies then tried out the new "professional" color for their audio
components and it went over so well that soon everybody was making black, eventually with it becoming the new defacto standard with "silver" now being the less common option.
A bit of advertising for the new look may have helped the association along: "black = professional = better".