The history of wire recorders

The Danish inventor Valdemar Poulsen (1869-1942) is often called the "father" of magnetic recording. He was the man who made theory into practice when he, the 1st of December 1898, applied for a patent on a "Telegraphone". This was a wire-recorder where the wire was winded on a drum which rotated. The magnetic head was movable and followed the wire when the drum rotated.

Poulsen also invented a steeltape-recorder and a machine which used steeldisks to record on. The steeldisk-recorder had a magnetic head, which moved radiusly over the disk. The disc picked up speed when the head moved into the center of the steeldisk. The steeldisk-recorder could be used in correspondence between people, you just send the disk by mail! The system to become most used, was the wire-recorder. The recorder to be used for home-recordings was developed in America during the WW2 by the military for military use. Companies like Webster-Chicago continued to develop the wire-recorder after the war. The news about the wire-recorder reached Sweden in the late 40's. The wire-recorder was often seen in magazines as a construction kit.

Ad for construction kit, made by the American
company Silvertone. (TEKNIK för ALLA, 1951)

Ad for recording-wire,
imported by AB Georg Sylwander

AB Georg Sylwander was an import firm on the Swedish market which imported Webster-Chicago's wire-recorders and recording-wire to Sweden. Engineer Sylwander also translated the handbook "Fundamentals of Magnetic Recording" by C J LeBel to Swedish ("Magnetisk inspelning på band och tråd, 1953"). The Swedish company Luxor realised the potential of this new medium and started to develop a wire-recorder for the Swedish market, "Magnefonen". The Magnefon was built in several designs, both portable and built-in. It appeared commonly in Luxor's radiograms. Luxor used the standard speed, 61 cm/sec (2 feet/sec), and standard spools. The collector spool on the Magnefon was also a turntable and the unit had a pick-up. This made the Magnefon a combined recorder and record-player, where you could play and record your 78-records. Luxor developed their Magnefon and presented a new type in 1954, on which you could play 33-, 45- and 78-records. The new type had features like trick-recording, fast-forward and a magic-eye. Click on the thumbnails to view ads from Luxor:

When the new type of Magnefon was presented, the tape-recorder was to be established on the market. The tape-recorder had more advantages than the wire-recorder. The tape was easier to handle than the thin wire (it was only 0.09 mm thick!). If you had really bad luck, the wire could get entangled, which was impossible to straighten out! Read more about the wire-recorder:

If you have more information, please send me an e-mail. If you find incorrect facts, please tell me! © Copyright 2002 Johan's old radios