From: David Lewis <[log in to unmask]>
>> Could knowledgeable persons take a look at the photograph at this
>> link and tell me what equipment (mike and cutter) Laura Boulton is
>> using here? I have an idea, but I've screwed up on identifying
>> vintage mikes before and do not want to put myself unwittingly in jeopardy:
>> thanks,  David N. Lewis    Cincinnati OH

From Roger Kulp
> Victor made a number of models of record lathes/cutters that were
> portable and/or designed for home use. My guess is this is such a
> unit,that was either off the shelf or slightly modified.

What makes you think that she used RCA equipment???????  All three
things you link to are RCA, and it would be highly unlikely she would
have used RCA equipment.

>  Here is one that sold on eBay recently
> Looks a lot like it.

Actually it looks NOTHING like it!  That circle you are looking at in
the Bolton picture is on the record tray in the lid of an acoustical
suitcase portable she was using for playbacks.  The EBay item's circle
was the loudspeaker.

The recorder unit itself is a separate unit on the left and is
unfortunately half hidden by the African's robe.  It might be a Presto
unit, but we only have a corner and part of the lathe itself.  The
amplifier is a third unit in front of the wind-up, and she has her hand
on it.

> A slightly later on demonstrated on YouTube

This is a post-war recorder. 
> This message board post mentions one from 1934.
> Roger 

And the machine they are discussing are floor model radio-phono consoles
--  hardly portable machines for the jungle!  They actually are from
1931 and used the pre-grooved discs.

Getting back to reality, the mic in the picture is not clear enough.  It
is in a spring ring, but that was used for many different mic elements. 
It is not a regular carbon or condenser from the 20s.  It looks thicker
and is not open to the back.  Might that have been the picture of a face
on the unit??  I think it is some type of dynamic mic.

There are several photos of her on the web -- I was hoping to find
another from this trip, but I don't think so.
This one shows here with two machines.  The recorder on the right might
be something like a Presto K, which is a one piece unit that used a
radial arm rather than a lathe.  The machine on the left which I bet
everyonbe thinks is the amplifier, is actually a phonograph.  Look
carefully at the top -- see the turntable and tone arm.  She is dubbing
a disc!!!  She has a brush in her right hand to sweep the cuttings away
from the cutter.

This one is absolutely a Presto K, and I think it is the same version as
mine -- there were about 8 different variations over the years.  It is a
post-war machine, and she is playing back on it.

Juudging from the quality of this 1934 Boulton photo, Indiana U might be
the place to go for photos.  

Here's a photo of the cover of P-49, along with an offer to sell you a
copy of the album set for only $250.  The description of this being
a Folkways LP does not match the seller's description of P-49.  

So I identified everything except YOUR photo!!!

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]