Person

H. J. L. Struycken was a Dutch otolaryngologist, phonetician, and acoustician. After studying medicine in Groningen, in 1893 he started working at the Voorburg psychiatric hospital near Vught, where he attempted to distinguish psychiatric conditions from neurological speech disorders. His interest in phonetics and acoustics took Struycken to France and Germany, to visit clinics and approach instrument makers who could produce tuning forks for him to use in his clinical research.

1896
1950
Video
Cöln, Excelsiorwerke. n.d. “Excelsior Phonograph (Video)”. Cologne.
Contributor essay
by
Alexandra E. Hui (Mississippi State University)
Early European settlers brought firearm technology to waterfowl hunting in the Americas. In the late eighteenth century, market hunting of the goose and duck flocks of the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways proliferated. Hundreds of bird species move along the Atlantic coast and from the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Minnesota and Ohio to the Gulf of Mexico, migrating between breeding grounds and wintering grounds, and in the nineteenth century, hunters began using sound to draw down these passing birds.
Audio
Scherchen, Herrmann. n.d. “Der Einfluß Des Mikrophons Auf Die Tönende Botschaft - Side B”.
Audio
Anonymous,. n.d. “Demonstrations Of The „Tonlagenwandler“ - Side A”.
Contributor essay
by
Paolo Brenni

The scientific instruments used for research and teaching in the nineteenth and early twentieth century are beautiful and fascinating artifacts.

Object, Instrument, Technology

In 1952, the Amplifier Corporation of America launched one of the first clockwork-driven tape recorders, ushering in a new era of battery-operated, small, and lightweight portable magnetic tape recorders. When they first appeared, the machines had no competitors, and the model enjoyed great success in the United States and beyond among semi-professional and serious hobbyist recordists. Originally, the Magnemite was designed for scientific work, in close cooperation with Peter Paul Kellogg, professor of ornithology and biological acoustics at Cornell University.

Object, Instrument, Technology

The parabolic microphone uses a parabolic reflector to collect and focus sound waves onto a receiver, ensuring great directional sensitivity along the axis to which the reflector is directed. The microphone found initial application in sports and theater broadcasting, and later in eavesdropping and espionage during World War II. It also became a key instrument in the recording of animal vocalizations, and as such provided an important stimulus to the field of biological acoustics. 

Object, Instrument, Technology

The Special Purpose Tape Recorder (or Multi-track) was the first studio-oriented instrument designed by Canadian physicist Hugh Le Caine and built in the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Electronic Music (ELMUS) Lab in Ottawa, Canada. It was created to afford composers the opportunity to alter and recombine pre-recorded sounds into a single musical output. This prototype version of the instrument used a three-octave keyboard to control the speeds of six tapes simultaneously, and then mix them down into a single recording.