I don't know if David ever made the paper available online. He sent me a
paper copy years ago. I believe it was the basis for his book "/Sound
Recording: The Life Story of A Technology" /(which I have not had the
opportunity to read)./
/Here is a link to his Recording History site, which lists the
publications he has done. Fascinating site-he has done some great research.
Steven Smolian wrote:
> I wasn't aware of the dissertaion. Can you supply a more complete
> Steve Smolian
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Scott D. Smith"
> <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2009 6:48 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] wire recordings - archival storage
>> The discussion of various wire piqued my curiosity, so I did a little
>> digging. I didn't find the exact reference I was looking for, but
>> found a couple of similar citations. I think most of this research
>> was done by Brush Magnetics and Marvin Camras at Armour Research,
>> with similar research done by the Geramns.
>> The best reference I found was from "The Recording and Reproduction
>> of Sound" (Oliver Read-Author; Howard Sams-Publisher; ©1952). In the
>> section on wire recording, there is a reference to the use of medium
>> carbon steel wire, which was produced from medium carbon steel rod. I
>> think this was probably what some of the early Pierce wire stock was.
>> There is also reference from a Fidelitone source which outlines
>> differences between /"Regular Stainless Steel Wire"/ and /"Stainless
>> Steel Recording Wire"/. It essentially outlines the fact that the
>> Stainless Steel Recording Wire undergoes some specific QC and other
>> treatments during manufacture. There was quite a bit of research that
>> went into this at the time, and I haven't had a chance to look up all
>> the references. I do recall that there tended to be a high rejection
>> rate of the stainless steel rod used to produce the wire, and that it
>> had to fall within specific limits on the B & H curve.
>> In the excellent book titled "Elements of Sound Recording" by John
>> Frayne and Halley Wolfe (John Wiley & Sons, ©1949), there are
>> references in a response chart from Brush Development to /"Carbon
>> Steel Wire", "420 Stainless Steel Wire", "Brush Wire Type BK-913",/
>> and /"Coated Paper Tape"/. (If you're curious, the paper tape beats
>> them all!).
>> As I recall, the reference that I had previously seen wire stock
>> referred to as "Type 1" and "Type 2" wire. Wish I could find the damn
>> I think the part of oxidation problem is as a result of the pot metal
>> that was used for making the wire spools, which in the case of
>> Webster-Chicago, I believe are anodized aluminum, although I have
>> frankly never researched it. I have seen problems in the past with
>> various anodizing, where either the metal was contaminated, or the
>> anodizing was not done quite properly, resulting a sort of white
>> powder substance. I'm not a chemist, so I will leave it to someone
>> else to speculate on exactly what the nature of this might be.
>> Your comments on print-through are interesting. It certainly would
>> seem that wire would be prone to this-strange that it doesn't appear
>> more often (on the other hand, the 40 db S/N ratio might have
>> something to do with this!)
>> One of these days, in my spare time (yeah, right), I'm going to go
>> down to the IIT archives and take a look at the Armour papers
>> relating to the research on wire recording, although David Morton has
>> already covered much of this in his dissertation on Webster-Chicago.
>> (BTW-the Webster-Chicago plant still stands at 5610 W. Bloomingdale
>> in Chicago. I took some exterior photos a few years ago, and hope to
>> make a tour of it sometime).
>> Scott D. Smith
>> Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
>> Angie Dickinson Mickle wrote:
>>> Scott D. Smith wrote:
>>>> I always thought all the wire made by W-C was stainless as well,
>>>> but apparently there were at least couple of different grades
>>>> (which I've seen reference to in some literature from the 1940s.
>>>> Would have to dig for the source).
>>> I would be very interested in your reference to this when you get a
>>>> I have seen some wire which has exhibited a crystalline type of
>>>> oxidation (usually easily cleaned).
>>> I've seen this also. To me oxidation is rust, but this is
>>> definitely some environmental reaction. It does not seem to effect
>>> the recording or the integrity of the wire in the least. And I find
>>> it more often on the metal spool itself than the actual wire.
>>>> I've never really experienced any issues with print-through on wires.
>>> I hadn't either until very recently. A very loud volume passage on
>>> a wire definitely could be heard seconds later. It could be argued
>>> that that low level garbling that is frequently heard on wire could
>>> be print-through. On the other hand, it could be incomplete erasure
>>> of previous recordings. I could never tell. Weighing tails out
>>> storage to future playback equipment compatibility, I'd continue
>>> storing heads out with a proper, even wind. Because, here's my
>>> question. After being stored heads out for 50 or 60 years, how much
>>> worse can any print-through get?
>>> Angie Dickinson Mickle
>>> Avocado Productions
>>> Broomfield, CO