Wouldn’t the cabinet effect the sound more than his clothes would?


Because his clothing might deaden the sounds of voices just a little, an engineer at the United States Bureau of Standards’ new sound laboratory sits in a box.

The laboratory is a miniature theater, where the acoustics of “talking movie” installations may be tested. The audience is made up of technicians of the Bureau. They hope to discover means of reducing the “echo effects” which many theater managers have had to combat since the advent of the talkies. It has already been found that not only the construction and the material of a theater’s walls, but even the upholstery of the seats and the clothing of the audience have an influence on the reception of sound. So would the clothing of the experimenter if he were not inclosed in his self-imposed prison.

Most of the existing motion picture theaters cannot be readily and inexpensively altered to give them the sound-absorbing qualities demanded by the talkies. Hence, correcting echo effects through the use of upholstered seats may be one of the methods adopted. The Bureau workers have discovered a certain lime plaster which shows promise of being an effectual absorber of sound.

  1. Erica says: March 2, 200810:06 am

    That’s hilarious. I wonder if this was some sort of prank his co-workers decided to pull.

    Hey, V.L., those tests you’re doing — aren’t they being thrown off by the clothing you’re wearing? Maybe you should do something about that…

    Unfortunately, Mr. Chrisler decided to build a soundproof box instead of strip naked, foiling their hilarious plan.

    On a more serious note, I am surprised the Bureau of Standards decided to get very involved in this. The concept of acoustics must have been well-known and well-researched for years, in theaters with a real stage (plays or opera or symphonies, etc)… they couldn’t have extrapolated from that information?

  2. Rick Auricchio says: March 2, 200812:06 pm

    Bell Labs had been studying acoustics and sound all along for the phone system. No doubt they had far more info than NBS at that point.

    The dorkiness factor is quite high here, though.

  3. Stannous says: March 2, 20089:46 pm

    I guess they called that the Chrisler Building (sorry)

  4. Michael Patrick says: March 3, 20087:20 am

    So why didn’t he just conduct the tests naked?

Submit comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.