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Wire Recorder

From Chace Audio

A wire recorder is a device similar to a magnetic tape recorder, but instead of recording sound to tape, it records directly to light gauge, high quality stainless steel wire. Used primarily from the mid 1930s through the late 1940s, it can record, erase, and playback exactly like modern tape recorders.

The frequency response of this format is limited (approximately 100Hz to 6kHz) but around 45 minutes of audio can be recorded onto a single spool, and the machine, about the size of a typewriter, is portable. These factors made the wire recorder a useful device for recording live functions, such as business meetings, recording radio broadcasts in their entirety, or music for continuous play at parties, all functions that were later performed by magnetic tape recorders and today's digital recording devices.

Limited frequency response and wire breakage are the main problems with this format. However, it is surprising how well the high quality wire spools hold up over the years in regards to corrosion. Recordings from 75 years ago can still be successfully played back today.

A wire recording machine. Designed to be portable, with its lid the machine resembles a small suitcase!