Telegraphone Recorder

Springfield Science Museum

During the first half of the 20th century, inventors like Thomas Edison used their knowledge of physics to develop devices that could preserve sound on discs and wax cylinders. In 1903, the American Telegraphone Company was formed to manufacture the telegraphone, a clever invention that used magnetism to record sound on long spools of metal wire. The machine was employed as a dictation device as well as an automatic telephone recorder.

The American Telegraphone Company was failing when it moved from Washington, DC to Springfield in 1910. By 1918, after having sold only a few hundred machines, the company entered receivership and finally dissolved in 1944. You can imagine the difficulties of recording on wire, problems that included the wire twisting, becoming unspooled and breaking.

Other companies continued to work on recording devices using wire as well as magnetic tape, a technology that evolved into the video and audio cassette recorders that were popular for many years.

Object Type
Sound Recorder
13 x 9 "
Donor unknown
Accession Number
On View?
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