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Belfer Wire Recordings Collection

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 20 Jun 2011

Biographical History

Wire recording reelsA wire recording is a type of analog audio storage medium in which the recording is made onto thin steel or stainless steel wire. The steel wire is pulled rapidly over a recording head to place a magnetic signal on the wire. The wire can then later be played back to retrieve the magnetic signal on the wire. The first wire recorder was developed in the 1890s, and wire recorders for law/office dictation and telephone recording were made almost continuously by various companies through the 1920s and 1930s. These devices were sold as home recording technologies after World War II, marketed for home entertainment or as an inexpensive substitute for commercial office dictation recorders. The use of these home wire recording devices peaked between 1946 and 1954.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Belfer Wire Recordings Collection consists of 30 recordings of varied content (spoken word, vocal music or instrumental music) on Fidelitone, Echo, Webcor and Webster wire.

Arrangement of the Collection

No particular order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Access to recordings requires advance notice for production of a use copy.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Personal recordings.

Genres and Forms

Sound recordings.
Wire recordings.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Belfer Wire Recordings Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information


Table of Contents

Wire recordings