British Broadcast Tape Recorder Circa 1935: The Marconi-Stille

The development of magnetic tape recording is generally credited to German scientists.  It is their Magnetophone that provided the inspiration for the Ampex recorder, which was the first truly high-fidelity tape machine.  From Wikipedia:

Early magnetic tape recorders were created by replacing the steel wire of a wire recorder with a thin steel tape. The first of these modified wire recorders was the Blattnerphone, created in 1929 or 1930 by the Ludwig Blattner Picture Corporation. The first practical tape recorder from AEG was the Magnetophon K1, demonstrated in Germany in 1935.

Although lesser-known,  the British Broadcast industry had a similar machine in use in that same decade.  The following account is given in the May 1954 issue of “Audio.”

One thought on “British Broadcast Tape Recorder Circa 1935: The Marconi-Stille”

  1. There were early mainframe computers that used metal band for mag tape recording too. The results of one of the Eisenhower elections are on a set of tapes the Smithsonian has, but nowhere does there exist a single drive that can read it. Univac had a “scorched earth policy” where their machines were lease only and were destroyed at the end of the lease. This was not rare: WE ERPI did it with theater gear, except at the end they sold it for $1 to the movie house because it wasn’t worth the effort to reclaim it. I think Panavision does this today. When an item is no longer rentable they throw it in the SSI Shredder.

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