[Table of Contents]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ARSCLIST] Wollensak (was: cassette crackle)

Michael Biel wrote:
> >... ...My first machine 48 years ago was an ill-fated Wollensak T-1616

Richard L. Hess wrote:
That is an odd coincidence, so was mine! Did it really come out in 1960? I must have gotten it towards the end of the run, as I think I got mine in 1962 or 1963. I know I had it in 1963 as I recorded a bunch of Kennedy funeral off-air stuff which I still have.
Then you must have gotten one of the good ones. I got mine too early.

My parents were getting me my first tape recorder as an advance present for my Bar Mitzvah which would be November 7, 1959. After (fortunately) ruling out the electronically controlled RCA Victor CARTRIDGE machine (a model that never came out until Burnstein Appleby sold it in pieces a few years later; the deck, the amp, the empty case, the speaker, the mics, etc.) I decided on the Wollensak T-1515. Around June I sent my father to order it with the store he did wholesale business with, but he came home with the revised booklet with purple instead of yellow printing that announced the 1600 and 1616. It also announced the 1515-4 which replaced the 1515. I never really liked the rewind/fast forward level that they and Revere used, so I jumped at the $50 extra 1616.

Then came the nationwide steel strike and just about all manufacturing of just about everything ground to a halt. The September delivery date became October, then passed my Bar Mitzvah, then passed December, then passed January, and then in Feburary 1960 came the HUGE BOX. The small machine was packed in a box inside a BOX! The BOX was six times the size of the regular box. This "rugged" portable was too fragile to ship without a big cushioned BOX. It was controlled by two big soleinoids, and the IDIOTS mounted one of the soleinoids ON THE MOTOR. Rattle Rattle Rattle Buzz Buzz Buzz Rattle Rattle Rattle Rattle Buzz Rattle Rattle. The soleinoids got very hot. Mounting it on the motor made the motor run hotter than it already did. The machine was cycled to stop by a cam under the pinch roller that was powered by the capstan. When the motor got hot after ONE hour, it lost the torque it needed to push the machine into stop.

After about six months we gave up and brought it to Authorized Factory Service down in the Courtland Street area. They took one look at the serial number, around 1300, and said it had to go back to Chicago to be retrofitted. It came back with the solenoid moved to the amp chassis, a new motor, new rubber, much less buzz, but a motor that still lost torque after maybe 1 1/2 hours. When one of the two handle brackets broke, I could have thrown it out the window.

Over the years I've picked up used 1500 and 1515-4s at garage sales and school surplus sales, and if I threw any of those out of the window they would still work just fine. It is amazing how they could design a mechanism that can't be killed, but then when they tried to have buttons that lit up and needed only a feather touch to operate, it was a DOG. You could have put lipstick on it and it would still be a dog.

Did yours work????

Mike (all this I remember but not sure what I ate for lunch yesterday) Biel mbiel@xxxxxxxxx

[Subject index] [Index for current month] [Table of Contents]