The British Library Homepage
homeHome  >   Online Gallery  >   Online exhibitions  >   Features  >   Record players  >   Minifon portable wire recorder, 1950s
 
print

Minifon portable wire recorder, 1950s: details and images

Back Back to flash version

1.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s - overview [18KB]
Overview of the recorder showing the two spools. The central spool feeds the wire out, over the record head and then onto the take-up spool (lower left). The head block (centre-right with two screws) contains the recording head, and this moves up and down to wind the wire evenly onto the take-up spool.

2.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s - wire route  [11KB] This image shows the route taken by the wire around the recorder. The knurled wheel on the right is the volume control and the black socket in the centre is for an earphone. Wire recorders were moderately popular in Europe and the US but were superseded by open-reel tape in the late 1950s/early 1960s.

3.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s - front panel  [7KB]
The front panel of the Minifon, emphasizing its size and futuristic design. It weighed only 3.5 pounds and could record for up to five hours. The metal rod at the right-hand corner is a control mechanism, simplified for covert use of the recorder.

4.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s - circular control  [6KB]
This circular control on the front panel switched the battery power on or off.

5.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s - spool  [13KB] Take-up spool in close-up. The wire is secured by two oval anchors. The Minifon was developed in Germany as a portable dictation machine, but its compactness meant it could also be used for spying. To this end, the Minifon was even sold with a microphone disguised as a watch.

Rotations and views

A selection of views from the interactive rotations, to view the whole set of rotation images you can download minifon.zip (8MB) which contains all 36 images.

Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [8KB]
Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [9KB]
Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [9KB]
Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [9KB]
Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [9KB]
Minifon portable wire recorder 1950s [9KB]

 
 

Other key artefacts:

Kammer und Reinhardt toy gramophone, 1890 Kammer & Reinhardt toy gramophone, 1890s
The Gramophone Co. trademark gramophone, 1898 The Gramophone Co. trademark gramophone, 1898
Bing 'Pigmyphone' toy gramophone, 1920s Bing 'Pigmyphone' toy gramophone, 1920s
Colibri portable gramophone, 1929 Colibri portable gramophone, 1929
Guiniphone portable gramophone, 1929 Guiniphone portable gramophone, 1929
EMG XA Gramophone, 1931 EMG XA gramophone, 1931
Thorens 'Excelda' portable gramophone, 1932 Thorens 'Excelda' portable gramophone, 1932
RCA Victor QEY 4 autochange record player, 1948 RCA Victor QEY 4 autochange record player, 1948
HMV record player, 1950s HMV record player, 1950s
Pye 1005 'Achiphon' stereo record player, 1960s Pye 1005 'Achiphon' stereo record player, 1960s
Dansette 'Viva' record player, 1965 Dansette 'Viva' record player, 1965
Sony stereo cassette deck, 1974 Sony stereo cassette deck, 1974
 
 
 
 

Tell me more

 

ARCHIVAL SOUND RECORDINGS

Online Shop: Buy a book on the Bedford Hours from us Explore 12000 recordings
 

SOUND ARCHIVE

Online Shop: Buy a book on the Bedford Hours from us Search over 3.5 million recordings
 
   
These links may take you to another part of our website. To return to this page, use the back button in your browser and/or close any new windows.  

Funded by the
JISC

Accessibility Terms of use Site map
Copyright The British Library Board