Sunday, March 18, 2007
Here's an uncommon carbon microphone from the Dictaphone days. This Acousticon microphone is housed in pure black, pressure molded, filled, phenol-formaldehyde resin, otherwise known as Bakelite.
Such an important sounding name! ACOUSTICON!! You know this device means business, and the name alone suggests an intimate knowledge of Classical language and modern technology, embossed with Art Deco motifs all along the oddly fractal surface, and squarely affixed to its mini-monument pedestal base in perfect proportion to the Statue of Liberty, or maybe a Western Electric 1B, but minified. The Acousticon may have been used on Henry Ford's desk as his intercom mic, so he could order more charcoal briquettes (which he invented) or call his son, Edsel, to take the helm.
Hugh found this gem, cleaned it up a little, and put it on display at the Microphonium Museum. Carbon microphones have a reputation for high noise and low fidelity sound, a telephonic crackle that is accompanied by the hiss of the high voltage across the carbon buttons inside that conduct more or less as sound pressure varies. Soon you will be hearing about the rebirth of the carbon microphone, but with all the old limitations solved, and with some new advantages such as extreme durability, and very high bandwidth. We won't name it "Acousticon" though.
Click on the image for excruciating detail of the Acousticon.
Posted by Bob Crowley at 1:46 PM