Reel2ReelTexas' Analog Reel To Reel Tape Recorder OnLine Museum

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We are providing the following information to give some perspective to the development of open reel or analog reel to reel tape recording, their manufacturers and references back to the specific equipment where we have data available. We will correct and add information as we receive additional information.  Also included is a time line for Martin and Phantom Productions. Pictures may be clicked for larger view.  We have attempted to be as accurate as possible and always appreciate receiving information that will help us update and maintain this page.  Contact

NEW! Page dedicated to our microphone collection

1877 to 1959   PLEASE NOTE: Price listings by items reflect the original "list/retail" price (from best sources available).
Go to 1960 to 1979  • Go to 1980 to present

Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Mikes, Mixers,   Headphones
1837           Waterloo,Texas founded & 2 years later named Austin
1860 earliest audible record of recognizable human speech          
1865 BASF Founded          
1867 AGFA founded          
1876           The Dessau Hall opens in Austin, Texas and becomes a popular venue for Polka Dancing.  Later big bands like Guy Lombardo, Glenn Millerand Tommy Dorsey perform in the 1030's and 1940's.  Later Hank Williams, Pasty Cline, Earnest Tubb & Elvis perform.  It is now seeing more Tejano music.

Edison Cylinder Phonograph Invented

records "Mary had a liitle lamb"     Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes sent troops in violent national railroad strike.  
1878 Recording process described by Oberlin Smith The first music is put on record: cornetist Jules Levy plays "Yankee Doodle."        
1883 AEG Founded          
1887 Emile Berliner is granted a patent on a flat-disc gramophone, making the production of multiple copies practical.          
1888 Edison introduces an electric motor-driven phonograph          

Phillips Electronics founded

Alexander graham Bell demonstrates a stereo telephone transmission in Paris

      Pres. James A. Garfield shot in Washington, DC, July 2; died Sept. 19.  
1894 Stromberg-Carlson          
1895         Marconi achieves wireless radio transmission from Italy to America.  
1896         John Philip Sousa composed “Stars and Stripes Forever” on Dec. 25.  
1897         First Klondike gold arrived in San Francisco July 14  

The magnetic recording was demonstrated in principle as early as 1898 by Valdemar Poulsen in his Telegraphone.    

1898 in Denmark, when Valdemar Poulsen developed a device to record sound on a steel wire.

Valdemar Poulsen

U.S. battleship Maine blown up Feb. 15 at Havana; 260 killed.


Wollensak began

First multi-track? The Columbia Phonograph Company  sells a 3 horned cylinder phonograph using 3 separate tracks on the cylinder for $1,000

      Pianist Scott Joplin's “Maple Leaf Rag” was published, popularizing ragtime.  


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        Eastman Kodak Co. introduced the Brownie camera, popularizing picture-taking. Poulsen's of the Telegraphone at the Paris International Exhibition of 1900.
1901 The Victor Talking Machine Company is founded by Emile Berliner and Eldridge Johnson       Texas had first significant oil strike, Jan. 10.  

Pres. McKinley was shot Sept. 6

Helen Keller autobiography appeared in serial form.


Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Co., June 16

1st successful flight in heavier-than-air mechanically propelled airplane by Orville Wright

American Telegraphone Company formed in Washington, D.C.
1904 Edison cylinder player     St. Louis hosted first Olympics in U.S., July 1-Nov. 23  
1906       San Francisco earthquake and fire, Apr. 18-19 Lee DeForest invents the triode vacuum tube, the first electronic signal amplifier.
1907 Bell & Howell incorporated       Financial panic and depression started Mar. 13.  


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Edison ad       Henry Ford- Model T- $850  
1909         Adm. Robert E. Peary claimed to have reached North Pole  
1910           Enrico Caruso is heard in the first live broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera, NYC
1911 New Edison Disc Phonograph       First transcontinental airplane flight Austin, TX symphony founded

In October 1912 the Edison Diamond Disc Record was introduced



The first "talking movie" is demonstrated by Edison using his Kinetophone process, a cylinder player mechanically synchronized to a film projector.

16th Amendment, authorizing federal income tax, ratified Feb. 3.

1914         Panama Canal opened First passenger on regular airline
1915 Presto Products Company founded (later became Presto Recording company in 1932)      

British ship Lusitania sunk May 7 by German submarine

First transcontinental telephone call

Thomas Edison lobbied for folks to answer phone with "hello."  Alexander graham bell was lobbying for "Ahoy, Ahoy"

Cylinder Changer

Edison does live-versus-recorded demonstrations in Carnegie Hall, NYC


The Society of Motion Picture Engineers (SMPE) is formed.

Gen. John J. Pershing entered Mexico to pursue Francisco (Pancho) Villa

U.S. bought Virgin Islands from Denmark

1917 The Scully disk recording lathe is introduced.      

First jazz releases on cylinder kept the format going for awhile longer


US declares war on Germany April 6th


More than 1 mil American troops were in Europe by July

Influenza epidemic killed an estimated 20 mil worldwide

1919 Brush Development Company founded    

Garrard Engineering, a subsidiary of the British Crown jewelers, commenced manufacture of precision clockwork gramophone motors.

First transatlantic flight


First regular licensed radio broadcasting begun Aug. 20

19th Amendment ratified Aug. 18, giving women the vote

1921 AC bias      

Joint congressional resolution declaring peace with Germany, Austria, and Hungary

The first commercial AM radio broadcast is made by KDKA, Pittsburgh PA

University of Texas receives its first radio license
1922         The first electrically recorded 78 rpm disks appear.  

record business became seriously depressed due to radio

First sound-on-film motion picture, Phonofilm, shown at Rivoli Theater, New York City, beginning in April.

1924 Dr Kurt Stille (1873-1957) develops a dictation machine using similar principles to the Telegraphone, recording on steel wire. It is manufactured by Vox Gramophone Company. First US Coast to Coast radio broadcast from Chicago to 4 million listeners    

Law approved by Congress June 15 making all Native Americans U.S. citizens.

Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) changes its name to International Business Machines (IBM

Rheem Manufacturing Company (Roberts Recorders, Califone)

The first electrically recorded 78 rpm disks appear


Bell Labs develops a moving armature lateral cutting system for electrical recording on disk. Concurrently they Introduce the Victor Orthophonic Victrola, "Credenza" model. This all-acoustic player -- with no electronics -- is considered a leap forward in phonograph design.


George Gershwin wrote Rhapsody in Blue.

wire recorder telephone answering/dictation machine called the Dailygraph

Ford Motor Company bought out the Stout Aircraft Company and began construction of the all-metal Ford Trimotor, which became the first successful American airliner.

RCA works on the development of ribbon microphones


O'Neill patents iron oxide-coated paper tape.

Congress established Army Air Corps July 2

1927 Dual turntables

Electro Voice  founded

JVC founded


Capt. Charles A. Lindbergh left Roosevelt Field, NY, May 20 alone in plane Spirit of St. Louis on first New York-Paris nonstop flight.

The Jazz Singer, with Al Jolson, demonstrated part-talking pictures in New York City Oct. 6.


Magnetophon founded

Fritz Pfleumer

magnetic tape

CBS founded

  Amelia Earhart became first woman to fly across the Atlantic, June 17  
1929 Akai founded The "Blattnerphone" is developed for use as a magnetic recorder using steel tape    

“St. Valentine's Day massacre” in Chicago Feb. 14; gangsters killed 7 rivals

Stock market crash Oct. 29

Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Mikes, Mixers,   Headphones
1930 Brush Development Company is making crystals for phonograph pickups       ‘30s - ‘60s Scully dominated record lathe Bell Telephone Laboratories initiates a major research effort in magnetic tape recording


British Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company purchases the U.K. rights to the Stille patents

The Blattnerphone  another link

Abbey Road Studios

Turner Microphones founded  

Empire State Building opened

Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion
1932         Franklin D. Roosevelt elected president 19-month-old Charles Lindbergh Jr. was kidnapped
1933 Marconi & BBC    

Magnetic recording on steel wire is developed commercially.

All banks in the U.S. ordered closed

Prohibition ended

Congress passed New Deal

Tennessee Valley Authority

Gold standard dropped by U.S.

Threadgills opens a gas station and a place for musicians to play.


Toschreiber b introduced 1934-35

See Page 13 - also BASF 6.35mm plasticized-paper tape with iron-oxide coating.

Also view YouTubeClips

    Securities and Exchange Commission created  
1935 TDK Founded

Brush DevelopmentCorp created



The first Tape Recorder was shown off at the Radio Exhibition 1935 in Berlin. The "Magnetophon K 1" was made by AEG

BASF prepares the first plastic-based magnetic tapes.

Boulder Dam (later renamed Hoover Dam) completed

Social Security Act

Huey Long shot

First orchestra recording on tape
BASF makes the first tape recording of a symphony concert during a visit by the touring London Philharmonic Orchestra. Sir Thomas Beecham conducts Mozart. Margaret Mitchell published Gone With the Wind.

Edison VoiceWriter

Universal Professional Disc recorder

The Marconi-Stille  

Astatic D-104

Brush BR25

Electro Voice 630, V-2 & V-3

Hindenburg exploded May 6 landing at Lakehurst, NJ.

Golden Gate Bridge opened, May 27.

Amelia Earhart, aviator, and copilot Fred Noonan lost July 2 near Howland Island, in the Pacific.

Presto Model "D"

Universal Professional Disc recorder


Pioneer founded

Bruno Velotron A

Electro Voice 630, V-2 & V-3

Orson Welles radio dramatization of Martian invasion, War of the Worlds, Oct. 30, caused scare Seabiscuit beat War Admiral in match race of the century, at Pimlico track, MD, Nov. 1.


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Brush Development Company develops steel tape and coated-paper tape recorders Marvin Camras design for recording head   Shure 55 C Independently, engineers in Germany, Japan and the U.S. discover and develop AC biasing for magnetic recording. Albert Einstein alerted Pres. Roosevelt to A-bomb possibilities in Aug. 2 letter.
Disc/Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Mikes, Mixers,   Headphones

Bruno Model "A"

Presto "G,""J" & "Y" disc recorders




American D4-T

Electro Voice 630, V-2

Electro Voice 640

Shure 55A,B &C

Shure 55 C

U.S. okayed sale of surplus war materiel to Britain

First peacetime military draft in U.S. history approved, Sept. 14.

1941     Shure 55 C

•  42 minutes on 1st tape (wire recorder used to copy phonographs)

• Ampex Electric Company - Made electric motors for airplane radar systems

Lend-Lease Act signed Mar. 11 provided $7 bil in military credits for Britain. Lend-Lease for USSR approved

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, 7:55 am Hawaiian time, Dec. 7; called by Roosevelt “a date that will live in infamy”; 19 ships sunk or damaged, 2,300 dead. U.S. declared war on Japan Dec. 8, on Germany and Italy Dec. 11.


Knight radio recorders

Presto "K"

Rek-O-Kut recording units & motors

Wilcox-Gay Recordio "Pro" Disc recorder


Electro Voice 630, 640, V-1, V-2

Shure 55A &C

Shure 55 C

Shure 556B

The first stereo tape recordings are made by Helmut Kruger at German Radio in Berlin.

Battle of Midway June 4-7 was Japan's first major defeat.

U.S., Britain invaded North Africa Nov. 8.

First nuclear chain reaction


Shure 55 C

Shure 556B

Oklahoma! opened Mar. 31 on Broadway.

937 Magnetophons sold by 1943-44

Race riot in Detroit June 21; 34 dead, 700 injured. Riot in Harlem section of New York City Aug. 2; 6 killed.


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The name AMPEX consists Poniatoff's initials, with "EX" for "excellent" to form the unique name. more


Shure 55 C

Shure 556B

• Tom Dowd - Worked on Manhattan project using wire recorders

U.S., Allied forces invaded Europe at Normandy on “D Day,” June 6

Battle of the Bulge, failed Nazi counteroffensive


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Bill Mullin with US Army Signal Corps ships 2 German Magnetophons and 50 reels of tape back to US.  Pic #1  Pic #2  Pic #3  Pic #4 Pic #5

John T. Mullin


Brush BK-401

Rangertone Tape recorder


Shure 55 C

Shure 556B

Turner 211

Turner S33D

•  Ampex Military contracts

•  Magnetaphon Germans  photo of German Magnetaphon from world War II in 1991 db magazine in Reel2ReelTexas' vintage tape recorder collection


Empire State Building struck accidentally by Army B-25 bomber, July 28, killing 13.

Yalta Conference

Marines landed on Iwo Jima

Pres. Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, GA, Apr. 12

Germany surrendered May 7; May 8 proclaimed V-E Day.

First atomic bombs

Japan agreed to surrender Aug. 14

Victory Grill opens in Austin, TX and becomes a famous Blues bar with folks like the Gray Ghost and W.C. Clark

1946 First licensed wire recorders manufactured by Pentron, Pierce Wire Recorder Corporation, and others. The company that became Pierce Wire Recorder Corp. began as Radiotechnic Laboratories of Evanston, Illinois.

Magnecord Corporation  More

Califone created

Brush Development Corp. builds a semiprofessional tape recorder as its Model BK401 Soundmirror.

Ampex incorporated as Ampex Electric Corporation

Shure 55 C

Shure 556B

Turner S33D

• Bill Mullin demo in San Francisco for Crosby

3M introduces Scotch No. 100, a black oxide paper tape.

•  Webster Chicago Wire recorder 180

baby boom began

Philippines given independence

Winston Churchill employed the phrase “iron curtain.”


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3M Corp introduces a line of sound recording tapes

International Radio and Electronics Corporation (CROWN)


Brush Sound Mirror  ad

Webster Wire 80 $149.50


Shure 51

Shure 556 $49.98

Bing Crosby uses Mullin's recorders to record radio show. Thanks to James Reed for clip & pics

Ampex Model 200A audio recorder demonstrated at Radio Center, Hollywood, Calif

• KVLF Radio Station created in Alpine, Texas

Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier

Marshall Plan


Sony Corporation begins its efforts to design a tape recorder

Early Ampex ad

1948 Ampex add in's vintage recording collection

HeathKit created



Webster Wire 78 $99.50

Webster Wire 80 $149.50

Model 83 Control Box $29.95

Magnecord introduces its PT-6, the first tape recorder in portable cases.

Electro Voice 950

Shure 51

Turner S33D

Bing Crosby with early Ampex 200s

• Ampex # 1  2 - $4,000 stainless steel machined 14” reel, 30ips,  

The Audio Engineering Society (AES) is formed in New York City.

Berlin Airlift

Organization of American States founded

Truman defeats Dewey

Austin's Skyline Club opens.  It is one of the last venues where Hank Williams played.

1949 1949 Ampex ad featuring Bing Crosby in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Bell RecordOFone RT-65 $113

Pentron Astra Sonic  ad $149.50


1949 manual cover of Magnecord PT6 in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Electro Voice 611 $19.11

Shure 51  ad $22.50

Shure 737 ad $20.87

Shure 55 ad $36.75

Shure 556 ad  $51.45

Turner S33D ad $15.88

Turner 22X  ad  $11.76

Ampex 300  Ampex introduces its Model 300 professional studio recorder.

1949 Ampex 300 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

NATO established

Federal minimum wage raised from 40¢ an hour to 75¢

Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Reel to reel
Mikes, Mixers,   Headphones


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Concertone 401 $295

Edison Ediphone

Magnecord PT63-A

Magnecord PT-7

Webster Chicago 180

Bell RecordOFone RT-65 $113

Pentron Astra Sonic  ad $149.50

Shure 51

Turner S33D

• First Ampex 300 -  Sold several thousand - began using molded plastic, $2,000

Guitarist Les Paul modifies his Ampex 300 with an extra preview head for "Sound-on-Sound" overdubs.

Brink's robbed of $2.8 million

North Korea invades South Korea

US military advisers to South Vietnam

Peanuts comic strip started


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Ampex 400

Magnecord PT6-A

Magnecord PT63-A

Magnecord PT-7

Magnecord PT-7CC

Magnecord PT6-BN $884 Stereo


Bell RecordOFone RT-65 $113

Pentron Astra Sonic  ad $149.50

Wilcoc-Gay Recordio

Stereo kits became available adding a 2 channel head and an additional amplifier to create stereo in mono tape recorders

1951 Concertone NWR-1 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

• Ampex 350 - many thousands made

1951 Ampex 400 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Rosenberg trials

Transcontinental TV

Catcher in the Rye


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Magnecorder PT6J-AH $330

Magnecorder PT6-J $260

Magnecorder M30,M33 $499.95


Bell RecordOFone RT-65 $113


1952 Magnecorder M30,M33 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

To create a "stereo effect" the Cook Disc System had 2 concentric grooves and the player had 2 side-byside tone arms and pickups.

Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952

Nixon “Checkers” speech


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Les Paul - 8 track


MultiTrack recording

Teac Founded

see also

Ampex 350

Bell RecordOFone RT-65 $113

Magnecorder PT6J-AH $330

Magnecorder PT6-J $260

Magnecorder M30,M33 $499.95

Ampex 450 for background music - 8 hours of continuous music on 14" reels

1953 Ampex 450 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

• Ampex - 4 track instrumentation recorder

Ampex introduces the first high speed reel-to-reel duplicator as its Model 3200.

Rosenbergs executed

Korean War ends


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AKG Founded

Ampex 350  $1,315

Ampex 600

Berlant Concertone 20/20 $445.00

Crown 3M

Magnecorder PT6J-AH $330

Magnecorder PT6-J  $260

Magnecorder M30,M33 $499.95

• Ampex 600 - 80,000 25 lbs $540 - specs almost same as 350

1954 Ampex 600 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

American Microphone D22

Astatic DR-10

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

The first commercial 2-track stereo tapes are released.

Ampex Series "A" Stereo models A121, A122, Later called 960 & Mono models A111 & A112

1954 Ampex Series "A" 960 ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Army-McCarthy hearings

Racial segregation ruled unconstitutional by Supreme Court

Condemnation of Sen. McCarthy

Ernest Hemingway - Nobel Prize


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STEREO Arrives

1955 Ampex Stereo Arrives ad in's vintage recording collection

Ampex 350  $1,315

Ampex 600 $545

Ampex 620

Berlant Concertone 20/20

Crown 3M

Magnecorder PT6J-AH $330

Magnecorder PT6-J $260




Electro Voice 626

Electro Voice 911

Electro Voice 950

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

• Ampex - 1/2 sales telemetry to government

Ampex develops "Sel-Sync" (Selective Synchronous Recording), making audio overdubbing practical.

Ampex Series "A" Stereo models A121, A122, Later called 960 & Mono models A111 & A112

U.S. agrees to train South Vietnamese army

Supreme Court ordered “all deliberate speed” in integration of public schools

Rosa Parks

AFL-CIO created


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STEREO grows

Teac founded

Magnecord M90 professional reel tape recorder ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Ampex 350 $1,315

Ampex 600 $545

Ampex 601  $545

Ampex 601-2 $995

Ampex 620

Berlant Concertone 20/20 $1,095

Crown 3M

Magnecorder PT6J-AH $330

Magnecorder PT6-J $260

Magnecord S-36B


Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

• Ampex - Consumer division Moved to Chicago

Ampex Series "A" Stereo models A121, A122, Later called 960 & Mono models A111 & A112

Les Paul makes the first 8-track recordings using the "Sel-Sync" method.

interstate highway system

First transatlantic telephone cable

My Fair Lady opened on Broadway

4-Channel  CinemaScope introduced



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1957 Presto 800 Series professional reel tape recorder ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Ampex 350

Ampex 600

Ampex 620

Crown 3M

Magnecorder PT6J-AH

Magnecorder PT6-J

Magnecord M90

Presto 800 Series professional reel tape recorder

Wilcox Gay Imperial 686


Electro Voice 623  $57.00

Electro Voice 664 Gray Chrome $49.98

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D


Congress approved first civil rights bill for blacks since Reconstruction, Apr. 29, to protect voting rights.

Little Rock students

“direct link” between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

The Continental Club opens in Austin, Texas.  In the 1970's it hosts Stevie Ray Vaughn & Joe Ely.

Magnecord M90 professional reel tape recorder ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Martin in ham shack, Alpine, Texas KN5YCJ



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Compact Cassette

1958 Roberts stereo reel tape recorder  ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

note the Rolls Royce style logo for Roberts (later changed)

American Concertone 63 $755

Ampex 351

Ampex 601

Ampex 601-2  $995

Ampex 960  $650 '58 info

Ampex 960 Caprice $650

Crown 3M

Crown Prince $480

Magnecorder PT6J-AH

Magnecorder PT6-J


Magnemite 610  $335



Miles Walkie Recordall

$465.75  '58

Norelco "Continental" $279.50

Pentron NL-3 $269.95

Sony 555-A  $595 '58

Webcor Regent  $209.95

Wollensak T-1515  $229.50

Calrad 500C $4.95

Electro Voice 623  $57.00

Electro Voice 664 Gray Chrome $49.98

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

Chronology of Magnetic Recording up until 1958

Page 1   Page 2    More

Stefan Kudelski introduces the Nagra III battery-operated transistorized field tape recorder, which with its "Neo-Pilot" sync system becomes the de facto standard of the film industry

First U.S. earth satellite to go into orbit

First domestic jet airline passenger service in U.S.

Magnecord M90 professional reel tape recorder ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

David Forchheimer in Martin's ham radio shack (Alpine, Texas Central school out window). Martin's friendship with David who was a classmate that worked at Alpine's KVLF radio station also peaked an interest in radio, recording and the music business.


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first magnetic soundtracks

1959 Ampex 601-2 stereo ad in's vintage reel tape recorder collection

Ampex 350

Ampex 601 (tube)

Ampex 601-2 $995

Crown 3M

Roberts 192

Sony 555-A  $595 '58

Calrad 500C $4.95

Electro Voice 623  $57.00

Shure 51

Shure 556

Turner S33D

Buddy Holly died

Ritchie Valens died

The Big Bopper died

Ampex stock listed on N.Y. and Pacific Stock Exchange

Tape Recorder Magazine, Feb, 1959 " Best estimate places the number of (tape) recorders sold at over 2,000,000.  Since 1954 the sale of tape recorders has gone up a steadily 20% a year."

Alaska admitted as 49th state - Martin had to quit saying that Alpine was the largest city in Brewster County which was the largest county in the largest state - TEXAS (:-(

Khrushchev in US

quiz show scandal

View Phantom TimeLine

1877 to 1959 Go to 1960 to 1979  • Go to 1980 to present

Go to page dedicated to our microphone collection  •  Reel to Reel Tape Recorder Company Histories

Unfortunately the DVD set is no longer available • Click Here for more info

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