Friday, August 22, 2008

Webster Chicago Wire Recorder

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.

11 comments:

Author said...
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Author said...

I know it's almost a shame to do it, but that would make an excellent case-mod for a PC. Truly a cool looking device.


www.dr1vel.com

Dennis G. Jerz said...

A wire recorder is an important prop in the Arthur Miller play Death of a Salesman, which was written about 1948. I bet some theater prop supply company would be interested, even if it doesn't work.

David Morton said...

These things aren't as rare as the press makes them out to be, as they "rediscover" them again and again. In fact, it is the Webster Chicago models that are particularly common. There will be one or more of these for sale on any given day on Ebay to anyone who wants one. My site has a brief history if anyone's interested: www.recording-history.org/HTML/wire1.php

Bill said...

Ewwwmmmygawd! I had one of these when I was a teenager. Like all good electronics geeks of the era, we junked it at some point. Just some ancient technology at the time. Little did we know ...

Don Hutton said...

From the bronze colouration I'd say that this was clearly some of Doc Savage's old gear. The SF "wire recorder" gizmo was mentioned in several of the stories by Lester Dent. ;-)

hereitcomesagain said...

Hey, I just found three rolls of that recording wire at an estate sale. Want 'em? Labels say there is Christmas music on them, but I understand the quality was ratty to begin with and gets way worse over time.

pekar said...

I sold one of these to a very old operating radio station in NYC. They were digitizing their archives.

Bob said...

I had one also but all the reels were already recorded on and I couldn't figure out how to make a blank wire spool. I think the best it did was just add the new recording on top to make a combination of the new and old.

fsbofsbo said...

hi...there, i was just going thru some of my old 45 RPM records to sell on bonazle finderkeepersantiq and noticed that one of them has a small disc adaptor in the center of the record that converts the hole in the record to a small hole to fit on a player. it reads on the adaptor webster chichago corporation.on the other side it reads patent applied for 6C anyone know about this adaptor please contact me. post here or find me on bonazle my booth finderskeepersantiq
thank you

dcdlsmith said...

I have one of these as well, may be an older model of it. My father recorded aot of the original Hank Williams and Grand Old Oprey singers onto 5 spools, and he took good care of it. I inherited it a few years back, sitting in storage for that collector I run into some day.

Douglas Smith
Hartford, WI