Vintage metal

microphone replica.

27cm tall x 12cm wide.

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Microphone development as we know it today was distilled from telephone technology, whose roots go back to the mid 1800s. The word “microphone” was first coined by Wheatstone around 1827 and was used to describe a purely acoustic device, like a stethoscope, which he had developed to amplify weak sounds. The word is Greek in origin, with “micro” meaning small and “phon” meaning sound. It was not applied to telephone devices in general, which were instead called “transmitters,” a practice continued by Western Electric almost until it ceased professional microphone production in the 1940s.

The following list reflects my choice of twelve landmark microphones, some in a series, that had a significant influence on the audio profession and related arts though their unique designs. The mics shown in this article are part of a collection of some five hundred microphones, accumulated over a twenty-five-year period through trade and purchase. It is the second-largest collection in the country, and all of them have been restored as much as possible to their original factory working condition and appearance

Western Electric Double-Button Carbon
Western Electric Double-Button CarbonIn the early 1920s, the demands of broadcasting led Western to develop a more stable and better-sounding carbon transmitter. The push-pull designs of the 369 and 373 models in their ring mounts and eye-catching protective cages were a big step in this direction. A double-button mic even found its way into President Warren G. Harding’s Inaugural Address in 1921. By the mid twenties, the 387 model, with its gold-sputtered diaphragm of 0.0017-inch-thick duralumin, would embody the best of the push-pull designs. It was followed by the slightly improved model 600 in the early thirties, and the double-button became recognized worldwide as a standard in broadcasting. The development of E. C. Wente’s condenser and later the moving coil and ribbon microphones would replace the noisy carbon, reducing it to communication status in later years.

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