Thursday 30 November 2017

The Transducer Corporation "Bullet" Model TR-6 Microphone - a 1938 design classic

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The TR6 Bullet - rare as hen's teeth!

Design magazine (Volume 38, Issue 6, 1936) noted the introduction of the bullet microphone -

"This new "Bullet" electric-dynamic microphone is being introduced by the Transducer Corporation. It is designed especially for public addressing systems, sound reinforcement and recording systems, and for amateur and experimental work where faithful reproduction of voice is of primary importance. The stream-lined double shell housing for the electro-dynamic assembly is produced entirely of lustrous Bakelite which is molded."

Radio and Television Today magazine (October, 1939) advertised the Bullet -

"The New 'Bullet' microphones challenge comparison. Each microphone in the new 'Bullet' line is definitely superior to any other microphone in its price class. Every model is engineered and made to exacting quality quality standards comparable only to rugged telephone equipment. 'Bullet' microphones are technically superior, acoustically correct; they are streamlined for sound reasons."

I love that last sentence!

I made the above video a couple of years ago, after testing the microphone on a cheap modern "supermarket" amplifier using crocodile clips. It worked, but was faint because of the impedance mismatch. I never got round to testing it on a "proper" amplifier, so take the phrase "perfect working order" with a pinch of salt! The mic is for sale, but will be sold as seen, with no guarantee.

The excellent website (Bullet page here) quotes the 1940 price for one of these mics at $23 (£17), which is the staggering equivalent of £1019 in today's (2017) money.

The measured DC resistance of this example is 697 ohms. I don't have the equipment to measure its impedance.

Apparently some of the microphones produced by The Transducer Corporation were marketed under the name "Epiphone Electar" with a garish sound absorbing label on the front grill, as can be seen in this advert for another model, the TR5, and here. Other than the links on this page, the internet has little to offer, concerning technical descriptions of the TR6.

If you'd like to acquire this microphone, contact me with an offer

Whilst researching the Bullet microphone, I came across this snippet -

Industrial Research Laboratories of the United States

Sixth edition. 1938

The president of the company turns out to be Gabriel Maria Giannini (1905-1989), a very interesting chap indeed. He studied at the University of Rome, receiving a Doctorate in Physics and was a protégé of Enrico Fermi, working on the theoretical aspects of nuclear fission. After moving to the States he began an illustrious career. -

Acoustics researcher Radio Corporation of America, Curtis Institute Music, Philadelphia, 1931-1935.
Acoustics and telephony researcher Transducer Corporation, New York City, 1936-1940.
Member engineering management staff Lockheed Aircraft Company, 1941-1944.
Founder Giannini Controls Corporation (aircraft and missile guidance manufacturing company),         Pasadena, California, 1945-1957.
Giannini Institute, 1957-1989.
Associate California Institute of Technology.
Held more than 50 U.S. patents, mostly in acoustics and aerospace.

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"Hodges emitted a scream the like of which
I hadn't heard since his scrotum was burned off
during my experiment with fluorine gas last year."

The Exotic Experimentation of Ernest Glitch,
Victorian Science with a Smile

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Unrelated to this post, below is an example of
eclectic science esoterica 

Lithium fluoride

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