Reel-to-Reel Wire Recorder

Description (Brief)
In 1935 magnetic recording expert Semi Begun left Nazi Germany and came to the United States where he went to work for Brush Development Company in Cleveland, Ohio. By the end of World War II he had helped Brush market several types of recording devices. Some used steel tape, some coated paper tape, and some like the model BK-303 used steel wire.
Since steel can be magnetized, the steel wire served as a recording medium. The thin wire broke easily but could be repaired by simply tying the ends together. Unlike coated plastic tape the wire served both to preserve the magnetic field and as structural support. That resulted in design compromises. Tape machines gave better results because each part could be optimized for its role. The tape could be made less brittle than the wire, and the coating could hold a stronger magnetic field than the wire. Brush and Begun soon turned to tape recordings.
Currently not on view
Object Name
wire recorder
recording device
date made
ca 1946
Brush Development Company
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 21 cm x 42.5 cm x 31 cm; 8 1/4 in x 16 3/4 in x 12 3/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
model number
Magnetic Recording
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Magnetic Recording
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from William R. Burgess
Additional Media

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