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Author Topic: What the heck is this microphone?  (Read 2119 times)

Online BrendanD

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What the heck is this microphone?
« on: February 13, 2015, 03:34:55 am »
Klaus, I hope this post is not too off-topic, and (of course) feel free to delete it if it's inappropriate. I just wondered if anybody here has ever seen a mic like this, and if so, if they can identify it.

Brendan Doyle

Offline klaus

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 04:56:58 am »
Fully on topic.

The picture shows New York Senator Royal Copeland (I want that first name in my next life!) in front of the microphone at Washington D.C.'s radio station WRC, sometime between 1923 and 1938- the years he served.

As was the custom back then and still is prevalent today, radio stations mark their territory for advertising: microphones get custom badges and, especially during the early years of radio broadcasting, they often were customized with unique surrounds which camouflaged the actual mic underneath, as was the case here.

So there is really no way to find out what mic was used, other than combing through the archives of WRC and trying to find a shot of some of their mics without custom ornamentation.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 02:38:38 pm by klaus »
Klaus Heyne
German Masterworks®
www.GermanMasterworks.com

Online BrendanD

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 06:55:06 am »
Thanks, Klaus. I should have noted that the subject of the photograph was U. S. Senator Royal Copeland, but I didn't know where the photo was taken. (I see by Wikipedia that Sen. Copeland was known for his successful efforts to bring air conditioning to the Senate.)

I kind of wondered whether that huge case was hiding the actual mic, but I hadn't heard of that practice, though I certainly knew that radio (and later, TV) stations often flagged, and still flag, their mics with a prominent logo. I wonder what that massive surround did to the sound of the mic?

Brendan Doyle

Offline J. Mike Perkins

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 03:21:24 pm »
Although there is no way to know exactly what is under that surround, the round shape implies it was some type or carbon microphone.  The frequency response of carbon mics from that period were so limited and the sound so poor, it was probably hard to tell the difference with or without the massive surround.  The mic in your cell phone is a lot better by comparison. 

Offline Lynn Fuston

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2015, 04:11:20 pm »


Take a look at this mic on the right hand side, from Bob Paquette's collection. Almost identical.



Source: http://antiqueoutings.com/bob-paquette-microphone-museum/#prettyPhoto

Offline Lynn Fuston

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2015, 04:20:23 pm »
More pictures of Bob Paquette's Museum here: http://www.sssmilwaukee.com/museum/gallery

Online BrendanD

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Re: What the heck is this microphone?
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2015, 06:20:46 pm »
Thanks, Lynn. Very cool collection!