Webster Chicago Electronic Memory
The Webster Chicago Wire Recorder Model #288-1R.
This Wire Recorder Actually Still Works Fairly Well.
Webster Chicago Later Known As WEBCOR Made These In The Late 1940's.


Before there was reel-to-reel magnetic recorders, investigators used what is called wire recorders. That's likely where the term "wiretapping" and/or "he's wearing a wire" came from. Many investigators don't know this today, but wiretapping and bugging was at one time a legal thing in the USA. Today, you can go to jail. A wire recorder crimped a wire that coiled around a spoil and it was the crimps in the wire that produced the audio.

Recorders in this time period where big, bulky and heavy. It took a lot to set them up. A private-eye of the time could make top dollar spending half a day setting these up and then covertly recording a situation. In the 1940's ownership of a tape recorder was very rare. In a whole town, there might be less than a dozen of them. Smaller detective agencies often worked with larger ones who could actually afford such equipment. It was common practice to rent them.

From The Ralph D. Thomas PI Vintage Collection
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