This is a Webster Chicago wire recorder. It was manufactured sometime between 1945 and 1955.
Wire recorders store audio by magnetizing a fine wire and storing it on a reel for playback. The wire moves by the heads at about 24 inches per second.
This wire recorder was manufactured under license from the Armour Research Foundation.
We haven't got around to turning it on yet, and we are considering encoding data into audio and eventually using a wire recorder to store pictures and other data.