- Description (Brief)
- The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was the first major broadcast network in the United States. During the golden age of radio, NBC’s roster of stars included comedians Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen, George Burns and Gracie Allen, singer Al Jolson, and conductor Arturo Toscanini. This microphone dates from the 1930s. The second inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was broadcast with this type of instrument.
- RCA / NBC model 50A inductor microphone, marked "3031" and serial number "2568," "RCA Manufacturing Co., Inc." Inductor microphones were used experimentally at WJZ in 1921. Introduced commercially in 1931, they were in general use by 1934. Inductor and so-called "velocity" type microphones were the two most widely used in that era.
- A single conductor attached to an oval corrugated diaphragm functions similarly to the moving coil in the dynamic microphone. Small in size and rugged, it has most of the best features of the dynamic and the velocity microphones. It is somewhat directional, favoring sounds in front of it.
- This particular example came to the Smithsonian in 1938 as an example of then-current microphone technology. A 1935 NBC article about microphones refers to the model 50A, stating that, "This new device is now being put into service by NBC on all... programs... originating outside the studios. The chief improvements it embodies are reduction of inherent electrical noise, and increased convenience in moving the instrument about, because of its small size and light weight." Reference: Joseph, D'Agostino, "Microphone Progress," Broadcast News (September 1935): 4-5, 12.
- Currently not on view
- Object Name
- microphone, inductor
- Other Terms
- microphone, inductor; Audio Devices
- date made
- RCA Corporation
- overall: 7 in x 4 in x 4 1/2 in; 17.78 cm x 10.16 cm x 11.43 cm
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- model number
- serial number
- Credit Line
- from National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
- Radio broadcasts
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History
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