Tape Splicer

Description (Brief)
Not all inventions are momentous affairs that change human society. In 1952 audio engineer Joel Tall designed a device to securely hold plastic recording tape so that accurate splices could be made. Unlike modern digital recording techniques, editing tape involved making physical changes to the recording media. If one wanted to move a segment of a recording from one part of the tape to another, the editor cut the tape at the desired point and then placed it in the new location using adhesive strips. An experienced engineer could make such a splice so that only a well-trained ear could detect the transition.
Tall’s splicing block features a concave groove running lengthwise along the block. The top edges of the groove canted inward slightly and locked the tape in place. Cross-cut grooves at 90 and 45 degrees to the slot enhanced the accuracy of the cut. Tall received U.S. Patent number 2,599,667 for this invention which was manufactured by Precision Tech, Inc. of New York. This splicing block was used at CBS Studios in New York from 1952 until 1962.
Currently not on view
Object Name
recording tape splicer
date made
Tech Laboratories Inc.
Tall, Joel
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
overall: 1 in x 6 1/2 in x 1/2 in; 2.54 cm x 16.51 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Magnetic Recording
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
from Joel Tall
Additional Media

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