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Artefacts

Dictaphone dictation machine

 

Dictaphone dictation machine

Maker:
Dictaphone Company m.b.H. Berlin

Period of Production:
1907 – 1947

Part of Collection:

 

The Dictaphone dictation machine is a recording device that resembles the Edison phonograph in its use of wax cylinders as the recording medium. It differs from the phonograph in that it is driven by an electric motor, not by a spring. This technological change made the Dictaphone more easily usable in an office environment, but it also impeded the device’s use outside areas with access to electricity. As a result, the Edison phonograph was normally used in ethnographic field work and in the creation of the Berliner Phonogramm-Archiv. Today, the brand name has become a generic term for any portable recording device predominantly used for recording speech. The object in this picture bears the name of its manufacturer, Dictaphone Company m.b.H. Berlin. Originally, Dictaphones were produced in the United States starting from 1907.

The object in this picture bears the name of its manufacturer, Dictaphone Company m.b.H. Berlin. The unit shown here is part of the department’s collection of historical devices, the Media Archaeological Fundus. It is still operational and was used in 2013 to create a recording.

Picture of a blind typist using a Dictaphone, 1911

Picture of a Dictaphone operator, from: Clarence Charles Smith: The Expert Typist, 1922

 

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