AUDIO FORMAT: WIRE RECORDINGS INF 392L – AUDIO PRESERVATION & REFORMATTING SUSAN FLOYD | FALL...

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AUDIO FORMAT: WIRE RECORDINGS INF 392 L – AUDI O PR E SERV ATION & R EFOR MATTI NG SUSAN FLOYD | FALL 2013

Transcript of AUDIO FORMAT: WIRE RECORDINGS INF 392L – AUDIO PRESERVATION & REFORMATTING SUSAN FLOYD | FALL...

Page 1: AUDIO FORMAT: WIRE RECORDINGS INF 392L – AUDIO PRESERVATION & REFORMATTING SUSAN FLOYD | FALL 2013.

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ORMAT:

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WIR

E RECORDIN

GS

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THEIR INVENTORValdemar Poulsen

1869 – 1942

Danish engineer

Patented the

Telegraphone in

1898

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WIRE RECORDINGS: HOW THEY WORK• Captures sound by passing a length of

magnetized steel wire by a recording head (or vice versa).

• An electrical signal fed through the recording head creates magnetization of the sound signal.

• To play back, a playback head (which might be the same as the recording head, without an electric current) picks up the changes in the magnetic field from the along the wire and converts them into an electrical signal.

• Can be listened to through a headset or amplifier.

Poulsen’s 1898 patent drawing.

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THE EARLIEST VERSIONS

This is the magnetic wire recorder invented by Poulsen in 1898.

It is preserved at the Brede Works Industrial Museum in Lingby, Denmark.

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WIR

E RECORDIN

GS:

THE E

ARLIEST

EXAMPLE

Poulse

n reco

rded

Aust

rian E

mper

or

Fran

z Jos

eph I

at th

e W

orld

’s Fa

ir in

Paris

, 1900.

Emper

or Fr

anz J

osep

h, 1900

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THE TELEGRAPHONE

• Poulsen’s first Telegraphone comprised a short length of wire wrapped around a metal cylinder.

• It was hand-cranked.

• He also demonstrated a steel "ribbon" or tape recorder, and then a machine to record magnetically on a steel disk. All three were promoted as alternatives to phonograph-type dictating machines.

• Poulsen saw the Telegraphone’s ability to record directly from telephone lines – a form of remote dictation - as a major advantage.

• The Telegraphone generated a lot of excitement and was hailed as a scientific breakthrough, but was not a smash commercial success.

• It was manufactured in at least two versions, one by Poulsen's workers in Denmark, and another by the American Telegraphone Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, and later Springfield, Massachusetts.

Adapted from recordinghistory.com: http://www.recording-history.org/HTML/wire2.php

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THE TELEGRAPHONE

Photo from aes.org:http://www.aes.org/aeshc/docs/

recording.technology.history/telegraphone.html

Ca. 1919

American Telegraphone Co.

Manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts

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WIR

E RECORDIN

GS:

LATE

R DEVELO

PMENTS

Despite some success in office dictation, magnetic wire recording did not take off as a consumer product in the early part of the 20th century.

Events of the late 1930s spurred several inventors, university and corporate laboratories, as well as the United States military, to invest in the technology.

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THE 1930S AND 40S

• In the 1930s, inventors and engineers at AT&T and Bell Labs improved upon Poulsen’s technology, using loops of steel tape in machines that could provide immediate playback.

• Along with Western Electric, these companies tried to launch a renewed marketing campaign in the late 30s aimed at business managers, but the campaign failed.

• As the United States government geared up to enter World War II, the military began to sponsor innovative research into new uses of wire recording technology.

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WIRE RECORDINGS: WORLD WAR IIT H E H E A T E R + T O R P E D O

Bell Laboratories developed a torpedo equipped with a recording device that could be fired from a ship or submarine toward enemy territory. Upon nearing the shore, it would automatically drop anchor, float along the top of the water, and pop its top, whereupon a loudspeaker would emerge. A wire recorder would then play back sounds of a fake invasion to confuse the enemy.

R A D A R R E C O R D I N G

German-born engineer Semi J. Begun worked for the Brush Development Company of Cleveland, Ohio, where he was instrumental in making major advancements in wire recording, including experimental recorders used by the U.S. Navy during the war that were capable of recording what operators saw on radar screens – in a sense, the first video recording technology.

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WIRE RECORDINGS: WORLD WAR II

W A R R E P O R T I N G

The Signal Corps utilized the portable wire recorder developed and manufactured by Armour Research Foundation (the laboratory arm of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago). These wire recorders had an advantage over disc or optical recorders insofar as they were immune to most changes in temperature, humidity, or shocks and bumps, which were not uncommon in the field.

Armour developed a battery-operated version for field reporting and sold $500,000-worth to the military. They hoped to market the device to domestic consumers after the war, and did so successfully for a few years (roughly 1946-1954), but the Americans’ seizure of Germans’ tape technology would, by 1955, end the heyday of magnetic wire recordings.

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Consumers used home wire recorders to capture and replay their own diaries, music, greetings, and audio ephemera

WIRE RECORDINGS: HEYDAY 1946-1954

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WIRE RECORDING MACHINESG E R M A N R E I C H H A L T E R R E P O R T E R W 1 0 2 W I R E R E C O R D E R , C A . 1 9 5 0

A P E I R C E 5 5 - B D I C T A T I O N W I R E R E C O R D E R , 1 9 4 5

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WIRE RECORDING MACHINESW E B S T E R - C H I C A G O 2 2 8 -1 W I R E R E C O R D E R , 1 9 5 1

M I N I F O N M I 5 1 P O R T A B L E R E C O R D E R , G E R M A N Y, 1 9 5 1

Image (l) via CryptoMachine.com

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WIR

E RECORDIN

GS:

AN EXAMPL

E

Edwar

d R. M

urrow’s

Hear i

t Now

on C

BS – th

e

first

regula

rly sc

hedule

d net

work

radio

progra

m

produce

d and e

dited o

n wire

(1950-5

1)

Hear I

t Now, 1

951

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WIR

E RECORDIN

GS:

AN EXAMPL

E

Fam

ily C

hristm

as g

reet

ings,

1951

Christm

as, 1

951 - Nic

k Gen

t

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WIRE RECORDINGS: PROS AND CONS

P R O S

• Immediate playback

• Sturdiness, imperviousness to temperature, humidity, knocking about

• Home recording

• Comparative affordability

C O N S

• Snarled lengths of fine wire

• Wire breakages

• Comparatively low quality audio

• Few pre-recorded wires for purchase, especially after introduction of LP in 1948

• Inferior to magnetic tape, which was being developed simultaneously and eventually superseded wire recording

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WIRE RECORDINGS: THEIR REPLACEMENT

MAGNETIC TAPE RECORDING

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gent, Nick. "Wire Recorder Project." Wire Recorder Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

"The Hear It Now Radio Program." The Definitive Hear It Now Radio Log with Edward R. Murrow. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

"Lemelson-MIT Program." Lemelson-MIT Program. N.p., Aug. 2003. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

Morton, David. Sound Recording: The Life Story of a Technology. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2004. 73; 106-116.

"Telegraphone." Telegraphone. Audio Engineering Society, n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

"Wire Recording." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 09 May 2013. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

"The Wire Recorder." History of the Wire Recorder. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Sept. 2013.

All images courtesy WikiCommons, except as otherwise noted.

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THANKS!