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Dead medium: Duston's Talking Book
From: From:
kadrey@well.com (Richard Kadrey)
Source(s): Tim Onosko, *Wasn't the Future Wonderful?,* Dutton (p. 85)

(((The following "talking book" machine, which can play, record, and reproduce more books, reminds me of the Lumiere Bros. early movie cameras, which were also mini- movie labs. == R.K.)))

:From "Modern Mechanics" magazine sometime between 1930-37

"BOOK READS ITSELF ALOUD!

"After 500 years, books are given voice by a Detroit inventor. The talking book is here at last!

"Merle Duston, young Detroit inventor, has succeeded in recording spoken thought in a new way, infinitely cheaper than the present printed method, and on a medium by which machinery does the reading or the thought!

"Ordinary paper, treated chemically, is run through a simple machine in which the modulations of a voice are recorded by photo-electric tubes by a reflected light process.

"Entirely new is the method of recording, and new also is the fact that there is no further treatment required to develop the soundtrack.

"Electric impulses bring forth the sound track lines, but just how the black lines emerge on the impregnated paper Mr. Duston is frank to say he does not know. Electrodes connected to the output terminal of an amplifier rest on the paper and darken portions of it. An ordinary pickup is used to play back, and the same machine may be used for recording and reproducing."

Richard Kadrey (kadrey@well.com)