Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wire Recorders and the Museum of Obsolete Technology

The Museum of Obsolute Technology, located in my son's room, has a new exhibit.

"You've got to guess what this is, Mom!" my son exclaimed when I came home from work.

From the case it looked like an old time portable record player.  But when he opened the lid it didn't look quite right.  There was a ceramic arm and....some kind of spool with extremely thin wire.

It was a...get ready for this....wire recorder.  And my son had paid for this thing,cold hard cash (which will be obsolete one day soon.)  This recorder was in the odds and ends bin at the local electronics store.

He asked me how he would know when it was on.  To my surprise, the knowledge of youth came back.  Son knew already about vacumn tubes.  I told him he should hear a hum and feel a little heat.

The recorder does turn on.

This is technology even before my time.  I have to admit it was quite fascinating reading about this.  There are even some videos on You Tube showing them in operation.  Wire recordings, in fact, have held up better than the magnetic tape that replaced them.  The problem, of course, will be finding machines that can play them.

They need look no further than my son's room.

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