Just as the amateur photographer uses the camera to capture that visual moment in time which holds a special meaning, the home recorder has used various audio devices to grab audible slices of history for repeated listenings. While many home recorders did not look at preservation as their mission, some of their work has outlived them and makes up an interesting tapestry of sounds depicting American life in ways only audio recordings can.

      The recordings featured on this web page originated in Billings, Montana and were made by a gentleman who started his fascination with sound recording using a Webster Chicago Model 80 wire recorder. In 1947-48 he acquired the first commercially available tape recorder, the Brush BK-401, and filled several hundred reels of tape with the sounds of family, friends, and radio broadcasts.

      While the family recordings will remain in private hands, tapes of over-the-air broadcasts and a few non-broadcast recordings from local events are included in this collection. For many of the recordings, the original dates are included, however, many are undated. The bulk of these tapes were made between 1947 and 1953.

The tapes reflect the interests of the gentleman who made them. As the tapes were used and reused, many of the recordings featured here are only what was found at the ends of the reel, fragments of what was recorded previously on the tape. They are included because they may be of interest to someone.

      I hope you enjoy exploring the joy of early home recording through these tapes as much as I did.

Vince Long
Billings, Montana
May 2003

To play the files you will need to have an MP3 player installed on your computer. If properly configured, the player should launch when you click on any of the files in this collection.

While not endorsing either product, both Quicktime Player and WinAmp do a good job.

This Collection is Copyright © 2003, Vince Long

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