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Walkie-Recordall, -Circa 1930's, 1940's
The Walkie-Recordall was a portable audio recorder that recorded to a plastic type belt (see photos below).The belt was called a Sonoband. The recorder measures10.5 x 5 x 9 with the thing closed up. A needle etched the sound onto the Sonoband. The belt measures 16.5 x 1.75. The Walkie-Recorderall was developed as a dictation machine. The idea was that salesman and business people could carry the thing around and dictate memos which could later be typed up into business reports on typewriters. However, the Walkie Recordall never went over very well for that. However, because of it's portability and recording power, it was quickly adapted as a covert audio recorder by law enforcement and private investigators. It was highly popular in the 1930's and 1940's. it retailed for about $450.00. That was a lot of money then considering the fact that the average sold middle income paycheck about between $45.00 and $55.00 a week. That is over two months pay for a recorder. The Sonoband belt would record for about an hour. That was a really a long play recorder back then. Later models had Sonobands that would record several hours.

You can learn more about the Walkie Recordall from these web site links

The History Of Sound Recording

Links on the Walkie Recordall From The Reel2Reel Museum

Museum Rescues 'Endangered' Recordings

Walkie-Recordall Ad

Walkie-Recordall Ad Two

Some Photos by James Greenwold, Tactical Surveillance Inc
Top Photos By Ralph Thomas

Note: There is one Walkie Recordall in the collection of Ralph Thomas' PI Vintage-The Spy And Private-Eye Museum, and another Walkie Recordall in James Greenwold's Tactical Surveillance, Inc. collection. Thomas and Greenwold are in collaboration in the collection of a lot of this kind of stuff along with Ben Harroll of the PI Museum in California.

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