Western Electric Products- Automatic Answering Service
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Western Electric Products

Sewing Machine - Automatic Answering Service
"Mirrophone" wire ribbon recorder/player
Telephones - PicturePhone - Bell Chime


Automatic Answering Service

Click on the thumbnail images below to view full-size images:

Close-up of unit

Front Cover with flap on left.  Opening the flap reveals text shown here --->

Inside of
front cover flap

Inside of pamphlet showing unit and description.

Last Page

Back Cover

Close-up of
Bell logo on
back cover
No further information on this device. There was no publishing date on this pamphlet.




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The following information was derived from information contributed by members of the Antique Telephone Collectors Association club:

The machine pictured above is the 1-BA machine. It was made by Gray, for Western Electric, used drums covered with the same material used on recording tape, and the heads moved across on a lead screw.  They were tube units. Same stuff that was used in the portable battery powered radios of the era, directly heated filaments for quick turn-on with 2 subminiature tubes similar to the hearing aids of the era for the first stages of amplification, and the radio tubes for the power amps and bias oscillator!

The Western Electric model WE1A answering machine was the first answering machine (not shown). Recording was done on a drum with a magnetic coating.  It looks like standard recording tape, except the magnetic surface was about 1/8" thick. There were two drums mounted on a common shaft. They were about 3" in diameter.  The outgoing announcement drum was about 1" long and could record a 30 sec announcement, and the incoming message drum was about 8" long and could hold 30 messages.  Each message was about 60 seconds long (not confirmed).

Five tubes were used in the electronics. Three 7-pin miniatures and two hearing aid type tubes.

Each machine weighed about 50 pounds and, like all  Western Electric equipment, was over engineered to last forever.


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