Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company Reel to Reel Tape Recorders

Company Description

Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company produced reel to reel tape recorders which were manufactured in United Kingdom. These tape recorders targeted the semi-pro market. Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company tape recorders used tube electronics.

Founded by the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi as the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company, they eventually became one of the most successful manufacturing companies in the UK.
The company opened the world’s first radio factory in Chelmsford in 1898 and were responsible for many of the most important advances in radio and television

Early milestones…
1899 Formation of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, which was bought by by RCA in 1920
1922 Formation of the British Broadcasting Company, later to become the BBC
1924 Formation of the Unione Radiofonica Italiana (URI), which was granted a monopoly by Mussolini for radio broadcasting. Post WW2, URI becomes RAI, which continues to this day.

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General Information

Manufacturer: Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company

Years in Business: 1898 To 2006

Country: United Kingdom

Years making R-R Tape Recorders: 1932?

Advances in electronics in the 1930s, brought the first commercially available wire recorders to the market for use as dictating machines and telephone recorders.
Recordings were made on on solid steel media. This type of magnetic recording remained the only option outside Germany until about 1948. Considered the most significant of these devices, was the Blattnerphone or Marconi-Stille recorder. The steel tapes for this large recorder were 3 mm wide and the reel weighed 15 kg.

In 1933, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (later CBC) installed three Blattnerphones in the Château Laurier Hotel in Ottawa where they had a station. Significant events such as royal and political addresses, the opening of Parliament could be recorded live for rebroadcast later to reach the widest possible audience.

In 1969, the CBC donated a Blattnerphone with 11 reels of tape to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. In 1992, the Museum shipped its Blattnerphone recordings to Telecom Australia in Melbourne, where technicians played them back for the first time in fifty years. Video