Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
8/15/2012 8:04 AM
Dear Mr. Dick!
Thank you for your editorial about HeathKit. I have fond memories of the heathKit, Knight and even EICO kits.
I thought you might enjoy knowing that in 1998 I created a web site documenting many of these companies and their reel tape recorder products. It was just a resource for folks in the industry who created and worked on/with the equipment. In the process we collected some 150 of what I felt were significant reel tape recorders used by musicians and broadcasters from the late 1940's. We even have the Ampex 200A, number 33 built in 1947 for Columbia records and one of Willie Studer' first T-26 Dynavox recorders from 1949. We also have Eico and HeathKit tape recorders, as well as a HeathKit Speedwinder that enabled folks to save their main recorder's wind motors.
In 2008, I decided to produce a brief (30 minute) DVD about our collection while I still remembered all the details. It turned into a 2 DVD - 5 hour program about the history of recording and our reel to reel recorders. Then last year, I came in contact with the original founders of Magnecord and Roberts/Rheem/Califone. Men (like WW 2 Veterans) who are now in their 90's and unfortunately disappearing. This motivated me to expand the DVD set to include their histories and 40 additional companies. I am waiting the receipt of a 16mm film that has been transferred to DVD and shows the Magnecord founders working in their shop on the first broadcast recorders in the early 1950's.
The DVD set is now 7 hours and I often advise folks that if they watch it with friends and family, they will soon find themselves alone, or the only one awake. I've actually received wonderful comments from engineers from around the world who have contributed greatly to the content. The production has been created in my spare time from our media production company, however it has truly been a labor of love for the old technology (no software upgrade required).
Our web site is
Thank you for your time in considering my information.
Martin Theophilus, AES, NARAS
Phantom Productions, Inc.