Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording

Shouting into the Transmitter

According to Camras (1985), Poulsen also conducted these experiments outside the Copenhagen lab: “In August 1898, Poulsen went on vacation in the country. He did not get much rest or fresh air, for he stayed shut in his room, and repeated ‘Yakob, Yakob’ into a microphone all day. Poulsen’s host and the guests had their doubts about the peculiar young man who was talking to himself. In later years Poulsen explained why he had chosen the word Yacob, which is the Danish equivalent of Jacob or Jake in English. This word has two vowels and a very distinctive sound that Poulsen could recognize when it came back faintly through his crude apparatus” (1–2). Put differently, Poulsen had to negotiate with the microphone. The clear-cut recordings it enabled corresponded with the vocal clarity (or discreteness) of the syllables spoken into it.

(This note comments on the page titled, "A Rewritable Medium," as well as the attached image titled, "Poulsen and Pedersen's 20th-Century Recording Magnet and Wire (1907).")

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