Reel-to-Reel Wire Recorder

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Description (Brief)
In 1940 Marvin Camras received an engineering degree from the Armour Institute of Technology and began work at the Amour Research Foundation. The prior year he had constructed a prototype wire recorder with a new type of recording head and adapted the technique of “AC bias” for improved sound quality. AC bias involves adding a high-frequency alternating current signal to the recording that significantly lowers noise and distortion.
During World War II, Armour manufactured U.S. military wire recorders using Camras’s design. General Electric licensed the design and produced a version of the Armour recorder. After the war other companies took licenses from Armour to produce recorders. One such company was Webster-Chicago, this model 181 “Webcor” unit is one of that company’s products. Webster-Chicago’s products did well in the market and the company produced wire recorders into the early 1960s.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1982
ca 1950
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
overall: 8 1/2 in x 12 in x 12 in; 21.59 cm x 30.48 cm x 30.48 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
model number
Credit Line
from Adrian Cronauer
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Magnetic Recording
Data Source
National Museum of American History


"I just saw your Webster-Chicago wire recorder. I also have one in my collection of antique and vintage recorder collection. I noted in one of the Hogan's Heros episodes, that Colonel Klink used a Webster- Chicago wire recorder like ours. It seemed out of place because they should of used a "German- Made " wire recorder. I do know that the Germans were working on Magnetic Tape Recorders and tape during WW-2. >>Best regards, Gaylord Ewing"

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