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Re: [ARSCLIST] Sankey Rols dictation machine

At 03:30 PM 2008-04-08, John Ross wrote:
I have just had a telephone call from a gentleman who has some recordings created in the 1960s on a Sankey Rols dictation machine, apparently designed by Aparatbau in Germany, made by ELAC in Holland and distributed in the US by Sawyers (the View Master people).

According to the only online references I can find, the media is either a 2.5-inch or 22-inch wide magnetic film called "Rologram". Looking at this picture, and reading the description, I'm guessing that the 2.5-inch number is correct.

http://vads.bath.ac.uk/diad/bres/pub/COID/252/64.jpg (lower right)


It would be interesting to understand the pattern on the film. I would hazard a guess that this will not play on the IBM Executary machine because that is a belt -- as in "belt sander size" -- that I believe the leadscrew moved the head to form one long spiral track on the surface. I think Art Shifrin can play Executary belts.

Since this spits out the film (and cuts it off) we need to assume (dangerous word) that the recording starts at the leading edge, goes back and forth somehow across the width of the film to provide adequate head-to-tape speed for adequate (a relative term) fidelity. There would be at least three different methods of creating adequate head-to-tape speed in this configuration:
(a) an arcuate head motion where the head is on the end
of an arm that pivots back and forth as the tape slowly advances
(b) a serpentine head motion where the head is on a leadscrew and goes
back and forth from left to right continuously
(c) a transverse pattern similar to (b) generated by a rotating head with the
axis of the headwheel parallel to the direction of tape motion. This would
be the most expensive and it doesn't look like there is enough depth
in the device to accommodate that. I'm basically describing a 2" quadruplex
videotape recorder as released by Ampex in 1956.

I think reconstructing one of these devices from scratch would be an exercise in masochism, so hopefully someone on this list has one. There are many things you can do with tape to make things play, but with a really oddball format like this, there aren't too many ways to capture the content without the original machine or a hefty R&D exercise.



Richard L. Hess email: richard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Aurora, Ontario, Canada (905) 713 6733 1-877-TAPE-FIX
Detailed contact information: http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.

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