Yes, that's what I said. The recordist in NJ used a cylinder machine, but the spies were using a
Poulsen wire recorder.
That's actually what Poulsen envisioned for his recorder, if I remember the history correctly -- as
a way to record morse code content and speed-send large batches of it, to be recorded by wire at the
other end and then played back at speeds a man could decode. The transmission could be via telegraph
wires or later via radio waves.
Richard Hess, correct me if I'm wrong here!
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
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Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Earliest recorded sound update on NPR
> This is the basic story as I remember it also, except that it was not a wire recorder that was
> used, it was a cylinder.
> The fellow who had recorded the strange sounds realized what it was when a battery died and the PB
> slowed way down.
> joe salerno
> Tom Fine wrote:
>> The Poulsen wire recorder was used for this by German spies in WWI. If I remember the story
>> correctly -- it was told in a two-part article about the history of magnetic recording in Audio
>> Magazine back in the 1980's -- the spies would record reports in morse code at normal speed and
>> then broadcast them from Long Island at high speed. Early radio experimenters in the US couldn't
>> figure out what that was they'd pick up sometimes. A guy in, I think, New Jersey, recorded onto
>> an Edison cylinder or disk one of the broadcasts, then slowed down the playback and figured out
>> what it was. Authorities were notified and the spy ring was shut down.
>> Sorry if my memory of the article is mangled, but I think this is the basic story.
>> -- Tom Fine
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 03, 2009 11:47 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Earliest recorded sound update on NPR
>>> data compression ca. 1880
>>> a technique that was not lost on WW1 spies...I wonder if they thought of it themselves or if
>>> they knew of this device?
>>> joe salerno
>>> David Breneman wrote:
>>>> As I recall, it was a similar disk-based device.
>>>> The telegraph message would be recorded on it at
>>>> "human" speed and send down the wire greatly sped up.
>>>> It was recorded at the receiving end and played
>>>> back again at the "natural" speed for a telegrapher
>>>> to transcribe.