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Dead medium: Camras's Wire Recorder
From: (Patrick Lichty)
Source(s): National Inventors' Hall of Fame (Akron, Ohio, USA)
Illinois Institute of Technology Archives

Marvin Camras's Model 500 Wire Recorder

Recently, I had the good fortune to have a meeting at the Inventors' Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. While walking through the exhibits, I happened upon Marvin Camras' Model 500 wire recording system. It was invented independently of its German wire-recording predecessors. The Camras recorder used spools of rapidly-moving wire which moved through a transducer assembly, creating the necessary impulses for amplification.

The model measures approximately 10" deep x 16" high x 18" wide. The spools of wire are externally mounted on a sloping front panel, and the emblem reads, "Armour Research Foundation", which was Camras' own institution. About 100,000 of these units were sold to the U.S. Navy, and the recorders were popular with hobbyists until around 1955.

-From the Hall of Fame card next to the machine:

"In the 1930s Camras developed a successful wire recorder. Before and during World War II his early wire recorders were used by the military to train pilots. Battle sounds were recorded and equipment was developed to amplify it by thousands of watts. The recordings were placed where the invasion of D-Day was not to take place, giving false information to the Germans. The public first heard of Camras' work after the war had ended."

Patrick Lichty