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Tape Recording Cartridge

National Museum of American History
This audio tape cartridge was designed in 1963 by Cousino Electronics Corporation. Today’s music listeners familiar with audio tape players typically think of the compact cassette format or perhaps the 8-track cartridge. However, other inventors designed many different tape formats while searching for an optimum combination of reliability, economy and ease of use. One such inventor was Bernard Cousino of Toledo, Ohio, who designed a single-loop magnetic tape cartridge for advertising use in 1952. His company continued producing tapes for a variety of uses into the 1960s.

Magnetic Recording Head

National Museum of American History
This “Red Head” recording-playback head was designed by Brush Company around 1950 for sale to tape recorder manufacturers. Inside the housing is a small, specially-shaped electromagnet designed to produce a focused magnetic field. When recording, a current fed into the head varied according to the strength of the input signal and that variation was captured by the recording tape. For playback, the magnetic field on the tape generated a signal in the head as it passed close. The closer the playback signal matched the input signal, the more accurate the recorded sound.

Wire Recording Cartridge

National Museum of American History
One of the difficulties of using steel wire as a recording medium was the fragility of the thin wire. These RCA model MI-12877 recording cartridges from about 1948 were designed to address that problem. The user simply inserts the cartridge into the recorder and can quickly begin using the machine. The steel casing is durable and the wires are only exposed at the front of the cartridge.

Magnetic Recording Disks

National Museum of American History
These recording discs were made for the Brush Company “Mail-A-Voice” dictating machine. This set of 62 discs includes several slightly different types, the most significant difference being that some are paper and some are plastic. All are flexible and coated with a magnetizable powder. The Mail-A-Voice was designed by German immigrant Semi J. Begun who also used the device for personal correspondence. Several of the discs in the set are audio letters from Begun to his mother.

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

gramophone recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

gramophone recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

gramophone recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History

sound recording

National Museum of American History
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