Boosey & Hawkes (Wire Recorder) 1942




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An early example of recording is the wire recorder, this machine dates from 1942 and was built by Boosey & Hawkes, this model is called the Wirek type A. This recorders design is primarily for speech recording, designed to be portable (57lb), it uses G.73 Boosey & Hawkes stainless steel 0.004" low coercively austenitic steel recording wire , wound on a standard 3. 3/4 inch diameter spool. As the wire winds from one reel to the other, two arms close to the reels move up and down on a clockwork mechanism to ensure the wire is fed onto the reels evenly to prevent snags which lead to the wire breaking. This machine records at two speeds, the lower being 30 ips and the higher being 60 ips giving 66 or 33 minuets recording time respectively, a future on this recorder is a timer stop, the machines counter has a second rotor control which when set and reached by the wire counter will shut the recorder off.

I brought this machine and repaired the internal rubber rollers , mechanically the recorder works but sadly the head is open circuit, I have passed the head on for re wiring and hope to have it up and running soon, in an effort to get a working machine I had purchased a further 4 of these machines in different states, sadly all the heads seem to have gone the same way even before use they had been metered and shown open circuit.



Era 1942
Customer All branches of the services since 1942
Cost when sold Unknown
Control type Mechanical play/record forward and rewind only
Max Spool size Only 3.3/4 inch reels aprox 1.2/2 inch wide
Speeds 30 and 60 ips
Motors One, drives reel tables by pulley and belts
Heads 2, erase and record/playback
Track configuration Steel wire can only record mono
Frequency response Unknown but thought to be under 5KHz
Other tech data Neon level indicator,  mic input
Special features Auto stop


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