No website dedicated to keeping these "tape time-machines" running would be complete without an overview of magnetic recording.

Rather than try and re-invent the "reel" here are some links to sites that, from my professional judgement, explain the principle well: - a professional audio equipment auction site. 

Wikipedia - were would we be without a Wiki page! 

How Stuff Works - stuff like tape recording.

Hyper Physics - this article is a bit more scientific but still has simple diagrams.

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