From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
Art "Shiffy" Shifrin asked about pricing of equipment and tape for an
imaginary and possibly government-funded re-recording project from 1949. At
least that is how I read his post.
Suggestions were that Radio Shack, Lafayette Radio and ordinary
advertisements in the NY Times might give the answer. I would not expect a
professional re-recording project to rely on Radio Shack or any amateur
market component provider.
I did not have time to respond earlier, but there is a much more relevant
resource from the professional market.
Audio Devices, Inc. was a licensee of Pyral technology from 1938, but created
a very strong in-house research team, developing not only Audiodisc,
Audiopoints (stylii) and Audiotape products, but also played a major role in
the huge upheaval from 78 rpm to 33 1/3 and 45 as well as early tape
development and recording.
They issued a trade publication, Audio Record, from July 1945, and it is
available with a few regrettable "holes" until November-December 1952 from
the Internet Archive. It has had 1119 downloads since 2009, when it was made
available, but apparently nobody I know who is engaged in the history of
audio technology knows about it; this is very apparent from some of the balmy
answers that have been given on the various lists that I consult regularly.
On the other hand, I have no real idea what "download" means in the
terminology of the Internet Archive. Diffusion takes time.
In the present context, there are magnificient listings of very early tape
recording equipment with prices and thumbnail descriptions. And of tapes,
spools and lengths. There is a 1950 listing, but the most relevant to Shiffy,
1949, is in one of the missing issues. However, the offering of tape
recorders about 1950 was huge, and the price range enormous.
C.J LeBel (now vice president) in 1947 took over a series of regularly
featured articles, and they are among the most level-headed I have read. A
report of a presentation in 1946 by Isabel Capps at Frank L. Capps, Inc. is a
delight. A lot of lacquer mumbo-jumbo and guesswork will become impossible if
this publication is studied.
Recording studios are described; a lot of focus is given on educational
institutions and their use of sound recordings, and for readers of this list
a special report from 1952 will be of particular interest. It is on Fine
Sound, Inc. and the innovation they brought to disc recording in cooperation
with Fairchild. A lot of things were going on that are virtually forgotten by
The link that I have is:
The quality is the usual mass-scanning offered online, but it is definitely
better than Billboard or the Texan catalog website, which is virtually
unreadable, even when applying "sharpen more" to the images. I have already
mentioned that long runs of the JSMPE are also available from the Internet
Archive. This early stuff is essential, and will undoubtedly save a lot of
travel grant money for future research.
> Hi Shiffy:
> With the NY Times, your best bet is go to the library and use microfilm. Ads
> are indexed in the
> scanned versions pre-1981 that are available thru library-gateway searches,
> so you might have luck
> with that. I don't know how NYC library works with that kind of thing.
> Beyond Harvey Radio, I don't know who else but remember back then Radio Row
> was in full swing and
> Canal Street was still a place you could find electronic parts (as opposed
> to knockoff designer
> handbag junk sold there today). So there weren't as many major stores and I
> don't know if there were
> any electronics chains beyond Lafayette Radio -- and that might not have
> been in existence back in
> 1948-49. Radio Shack, I think, was not yet in existence, although I might be
> Another idea -- go to the NYPL branch with old technical journals and see if
> they have old Radio &
> TV News and Audio Engineering magazines from that era.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Art Shifrin" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, March 20, 2010 1:49 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] archaic pricing sought for early recording tape and
> machines, circa 1948 -
> 1949 IN THE U.S.A.
> > Hi tom,
> > Thanks for replying quickly. FYI I did check the fabulous relatively
> > on-line Popular Science archive & found some references including ads,
> > none contained prices. There were fewer items than I arbitrarily
> > A problem with that daabase is that you have to second guess probable
> > words (as compared to conceptual or thematic). But it's fascinating to
> > & find articles about other topics.
> > Do you happen to know if the NY Times' index includes advertisements?
> > The suggestion about Harvey Radio's catalogs is astute, I'll pursue
> > or not others supply actual data.
> > Can you think of other prominent dealers at that time? I've also written
> > 3M & The science museum in Schenctady (whch has the G.E. archives. Given
> > cutbacks that are so widespread, I'll be delighted if I get something
> > thanp[erfunctory replies.
> > Best Regards,
> > Shiffy