Wilcox-Gay Corp., Charlotte, Michigan
late 1910's to 1960
Wilcox-Gay Corp., which began in 1910 as a small company creating radios and transcription recorders in Charlotte, Michigan. As their business grew so did the product line they carried and in 1939 they launched the Recordio.
The Recordio device not only played records but also allowed the user to use a microphone that accompanied the player to record themselves onto a blank record - a "Recordio Disc."
The Recordio machine recorded at 78 rpm with decent fidelity. These machines also included an AM radio receiver. With this function you could record your favorite radio broadcasts to listen to time and time again.
These machines were marketed to the middle class through such media outlets as Ebony and Life magazine.
The player/recorder found its way into the hands of musicians, and Johnny Cash and Les Paul were known to use these devices.
In its debut year the Recordio device sold 25,000 units, but with the Great Depression underway and the adoption of magnetic tape the Wilcox-Gay Corp. sales declined.
In 1961 the company moved to Chicago and lasted two more years before finally declaring bankruptcy a second time and closing its doors for good in 1963.
by Timothy Kastner, TapeOp the Creative Recording Magazine