Without having adequate ARC engineering documentation, and or detailed
photographs of the session in progress, only a speculative description will
At the very least, the recording set up would have been comprised of:
cutting head & stylus
When doing this kind of research, it's advisable to test your conclusions.
If one were to get as far as deducing the make & model #'s of the lathe,
cutter, amp & mic. Then, trade journals and catalogues should then be
consulted to confirm that the equipment that is tentatively thought to be
ID'd even existed at that time.
Another possible source of information about which companies were using
which equipment would be papers (published contemporarily or in retrospect)
in Journals of the AES and SMPE (now SMPTE). Publicity photos published in
trade and record journals might also help deduce what was being used by a
given company at a given time.
This raises a question that I'd never before thought about. Assuming that
its use of Western Electric electrical recording equipment by U.S. Columbia
and its affiliated labels was initially exclusive, by when were they able to
use their own designs, or other manufacturers' equipment?
Here's another question about pre-tape recording sessions: playback on site
/ in the studio of the masters. I have a SMPE Journal circa 1929 which
describes a W.E. playback arm & pickup that was specifically designed to non
destructively playback wax masters to assure quality control prior to
plating and pressing. Was this done by commerical record company
engineers? Did the practice apply to lacquers once they replaced wax? Was
it done in non W.E. equipped studios?
Having spent so much time with Raymond Scott and Jack Poppele (founding
chief engineer of WOR) some 30 years ago, I intensely regret that I didn't
ask them more specific questions about the technology that they were then