Duo-Trac 'Cell-o-Phone' optical tape player, c 1936.
3 4 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 26cm

Duo-Trac 'Cell-o-Phone' optical tape player, c 1936.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Tape player made by the British Ozaphane Company as a smart domestic alternative to the gramophone. A contemporary brochure describes the machine as using 'a beam of light instead of a needle - a ribbon instead of a disc. Six to sixty minutes of uninterrupted programme at the turn of a switch'. Recordings were made in the form of optical traces on a 4 mm cellophane 'ribbon' played by being pased between a lamp and a photo-electric cell. Although a commercial failure, the Cell-o- Phone pre-dated magnetic tape by ten years.

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