The Perfect Secretary—a Machine (Apr, 1933)

The Perfect Secretary—a Machine
LEAVING his office for a few minutes, M. Keiser, inventor of the televoice, hooks up the gadget shown below with his telephone. Drama ensues. When phone rings, the machine lifts receiver, advises via phonograph record that “Mr. Keiser is not in, but requests that you leave your message, which will be automatically recorded.” Through a dictaphone arrangement, caller’s words are transcribed to wax cylinder, whence they are audibly reproduced for Mr. Keiser at his convenience, as often as he wants to hear them.

  1. KHarn says: March 9, 20088:28 am

    I’m often amazed when I see how far back our “modern” gadgets go.

  2. g662 says: June 20, 20086:45 am

    Here’s what you have there, and comparisons with the 1924 model.

    To the right is a conventional “telephone table” as was common furniture until recently. Underneat, the telephone directories. Above, the telephone (Western Electric 202 type, which also has better sound quality than a modern cellphone). The phone sits on a device that is part of the answering set. The telephone handset is tilted at an angle to interface with the acoustical coupling elements (mic and speaker) of the answering machine. Slightly out of sight there is probably a handset lifter to take it off the hook.

    On the wall, the large black rectangle to the immediate left of the phone table is the ringer box, with the telephone bells. I’m going to guess that the black rectangle to the left of that, is the acoustical pickup that responds to the sound of the bells ringing, by triggering the hookswitch release and starting the answering machine.

    To the left of the black rectangles on the wall, is the trolly containing the answering system and accessories. At the top of this trolly, the mechanical elements: the wax cylinder phonograph with its speaking tube microphone. Below that, a storage area for phonograph cylinders: greetings and messages. Below that a vacuum tube amplifier, presumably with two channels, one for the outgoing greeting and one for the incoming message.

    The reason this is larger than the 1924 model is that the earlier one was probably purely acoustical, without tube amplifiers to require a larger cabinet and improve sound volume in both directions. And in the 1924 unit, the picture does not show the acoustical pickup next to the telephone ringer on the wall.

    Yes, and you thought voicemail was new, heh heh.

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