Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Frank StantonFrank Stanton
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 755

And I ran that for him, did a lot of the testing for him. It was just donkey work but that introduced me to some people in the department. We maintained a little lab, a little mechanical shop where they made some of these crazy instruments.

So when I got this idea about the recording thing I went to that shop and talked to the guys there and said, “How am I going to do this?” And they said, well, they could see how you could drive the wheel but there wasn't anything much like a synchronous motor at that time. The telechrome clock, which may not mean anything to you, because it was one of the early developments of a motor that was perfectly synchronized with sixty-cycle current -- And so I bought a couple of those clocks, ripped the motors out and used those to drive this tape mechanism, because I knew that they would drive at a constant speed. Then I found a company in Indianapolis that made wide strips of paper for this chemograph that I described before. The paper was red and there was a wax coating on it. And they used a heated stylus. And the heated stylus would etch into that white wax and you'd see the red below it. And I figured, well, if it worked for them, maybe I could heat my stylus in this little recorder. Then I realized I couldn't put anything in somebody's house that had an electrical heater in it for fear I'd be in trouble with -- Well, no one would let you do it. I had trouble enough getting them in, anyway.

And so I then developed a stylus that was sharp enough with enough pressure on it that would cut through the wax, didn't have to heat it to get through the wax, and I could read what the stylus showed on the tape. I then had to get a device that would pick up the stylus when the set was turned off and drop the stylus when the set came on, when you turned the set -- These were all AC sets, no battery sets at that time, or at least in the sample I used. I didn't know my head from a hot rock about building something that would pick the stylus up.

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help