1930s Mivoice Speakeasie Mechanical Home Recorder
This 1930s Mivoice Speakeasie Mechanical Home Recorder was made by Electrocolor Products Ltd of 63 New Broad Street, London, E.C.2.
These days it is easy to communicate directly with friends and relatives but, in the 1930s, the only way a person could hear your voice was face to face, by radio, or telephone (if you were rich enough to own one).
This mechanical device is amazing as it allowed you to:
- Record a short message/ song/ instructions on a record disc, using your home gramophone, attached to a mechanical (acoustic) recorder.
- Once the message was effectively etched in the form of grooves, similar to a compact disc,
- You placed your record in the enveloped supplied,
- Sent it to your relative (or whomever) and
- They could play back your message on their own gramophone (78rpm).
This must have seemed like magic!
The company called it making ‘photographs of your voice’.
A testimonial for the Mivoice Home Recorder from the composer Herbert Oliver gave me much amusement:-
“Every teacher of the singing world will insist on its use by pupils who will for the first time be able to hear their own faults and progress”
This is a real piece of history and a rare survivor. The technology was soon superseded by improved recording methods e.g. reel to reel magnetic tapes.
After much trawling on the internet I have only managed to find references to the kit and parts of the recorder but this one comes with:-
- The speaking horn
- The recording box
- Original box
- Original instructions
- 13 recording discs in original envelopes, made by Voice Records Limited, London. Two have been used but I have not attempted to play them.
- A rubber mat to place on your gramophone turntable prior to placing the recording disc on top.
- A packet of original fibre needles
- A cutter needle
- Several reproduction fibre needles.
It is in excellent condition for it’s age but I don’t know whether or not it is working.
One sold at Christies for £77 in 1992 (aprox. £155 in today’s money). The Mivoice Speakeasie was lot 59 in the auction.
An amazing addition to any collection or even a museum!
If you like vintage technology, then please click on the following link for more product ideas.