Brush Development Company

Brush Electronics Company

Brush BK-727 reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording colection

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Manufacturer Profiles

This is a list of information we have gathered from a variety of sources on some of the major analog reel to reel tape recorder and related equipment manufacturers. While we have strived to provide the best information available to us, there will be corrections and additions. We include personal stories about the companies when they are provided to us.  We always invite input on corrections and updates. Thank you!

Statistics 20142015  •  News coverage #1  News coverage #2  • view overview video of tape recorder collectionmobile videomore info • See also Multi-Track recording

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View calendar which lists company creation dates associated with world and recording history

 

 

BrushBrush Electronics Company logo manufacturer of reel tape recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

1953 Brush 14 channel magnetic head for reel tape recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording colectionOriginally founded in 1919 by Charles Francis Brush Jr. as Brush Labs, a research company based in Cleveland, Ohio, the company was started with the intention to develop phonographic products that utilized piezoelectric crystals. Mr. Brush died prematurely in 1927 but his backers founded the Brush Development Company in 1930 to commercialize the inventions of Brush Labs. The newly formed company became the USA's biggest manufacturer of instrument recorders and other test and measurement instrumentation in the latter half of the 30s. Brush's main business in 1943 was the production of piezoelectric phonograph pickups.

Another of their products was wire recorders. These used ferromagnetic stainless steel wire, with a composition similar to high carbon high chromium cutlery steel as the recording medium. Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collectionThe recording head was a split ring, with the wire running in a groove in the head, quite similar to the heads used today. High frequency AC bias was used to linearize the recording. The ferritic stainless steel was quite strong. Diamond dies were required to draw it into wire.

The newly formed company became the USA's biggest manufacturer of instrument recorders and other test/measurement instrumentation in the latter half of the 30's. Due to their status in that market segment, Brush was chosen by the US Army to work on recording technologies during World War II, while the company continued to work on magnetic recording technologies.

The Brush Vice President for Research, Dr. Semi Joseph Begun, obtained a contract from the US National Defense Research Council to perform research and development on a substitute for the stainless steel wire. The work was justified by the military use of the recorders and the shortage of facilities for producing the diamond dies. It resulted in the production through work at Battelle Memorial Institute of iron oxide magnetic recording tape of exceptional quality.

After the war they were not made privy to the improved technologies behind Telefunken's WWII era Magnetophon by the US Army. Like others working in that field, it has been hinted that this was possibly because the company had been exclusively handed the research and manufacturing secrets of high quality crystals that had been developed in Germany during the war, and had even been given access to the German scientists that had developed the techniques; it was felt that Brush had got "their share".

In 1946Brush released the Mail-A-Voice dictation recorder. The Mail-A-Voice was the first magnetic disc recorder.  In his book Magnetic Recording, Semi Joseph Begum says "It was used by department stores.  Parent bought the equipment and gave a unit to their son or daughter who might be away from home and kept one unit at their own disposal.  The powder-coated discs were mailed and served as "spoken" letters.  Today's floppy discs for computers are basically an outgrowth of the original discs for correspondence.

Brush released the first USA built tape recorder in 1947 with the Brush Soundmirror. But those were designed with an eye on the outdated 1928 and 1935 German patents. This meant that the Soundmirror was soon outdated when machines built around the Magnetophon technology arrived on the market. For a time in the early 50's the company became the primary supplier of automated tape recorders for businesses such as aviation control and telephone exchanges. The company never gained the market share in the recording business.

Companies such as Sonotone managed during the late 40's to successfully market piezoelectric phonographic pickups, a market that Brush had set it's sights on ever since its founding, but never had any success.
To add insult to injury, one of the most successful companies in that sector was Astatic which was founded by an ex-Brush employee. Brush Development Co. merged with the original Brush Labs and the Cleveland Graphite Bronze company in 1952 with the resulting new company named Clevite. Audio products continued being sold using the Brush trademark as late as 1960. The Clevite company exited the audio market in 1963 and was taken over by Gould National Battery in 1969.


Go to Article by the Audio Engineering SocietyGo to Brush Development Company Stories


Brush reel to reel tape recorders in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vinyage recording collection

Brush Development Company's Mail-A-Voice recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush BK-401 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush BK-401 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush BK-727 reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage recording colection  1953 Brush Electronics Company BK-455 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection    Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection Brush Electronics Company's professional model 2105 reel to reel tape recorder in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection


This is a very unique Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to our Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc. view pdf

Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to the Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc.  Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to the Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc.  Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to the Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc.  Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to the Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc.  Brush BL-301 Vibration Transducer donated to the Museum by Dave Meyers of Overkill Audio, Inc.


Brush Mail-A-Voice  1946Magnetic Recording - The Ups and Downs of a Pioneer

1946 Brush Mail-A-Voice magnetic recorder which mechanically works like a record player, however the phono head magnetically records onto a paper mailable disc.  this unit is in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection's vintage reel tape recorder recording collectionThe model BK-503 Mail-A-Voice from "The Brush Development Company", represents an entirely different approach to the problem of storing information on a magnetic medium. The recording material in this case is in the form of a 9-inch disc, and the sound track is a spiral running from an inner diameter of 5 inches to the outer edge. The recording track has a width of 0.014 inch, and the pitch of the spiral is 0.025 inch. Despite this close spacing, no noticeable crosstalk can be detected. The powder-coated paper discs can be folded and mailed like an ordinary letter. No guide grooves are provided on the coated discs.

After the war Brush released the Mail-A-Voice dictation recorder.  The Mail-A-Voice was the first magnetic disc recorder.  In his book Magnetic Recording, Semi Joseph Begum says "It was used by department stores.  Parents bought the equipment and gave a unit to their son or daughter who might be away from home and kept one unit at their own disposal.  The powder-coated discs were mailed and served as "spoken" letters.  Today's floppy discs for computers are basically an outgrowth of the original discs for correspondence."

1946 Brush Mail-A-Voice magnetic recorder which mechanically works like a record player, however the phono head magnetically records onto a paper mailable disc.  this unit is in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection's vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  1946 Brush Mail-A-Voice magnetic recorder which mechanically works like a record player, however the phono head magnetically records onto a paper mailable disc.  this unit is in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection's vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  1946 Brush Mail-A-Voice magnetic recorder which mechanically works like a record player, however the phono head magnetically records onto a paper mailable disc.  this unit is in the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection's vintage reel tape recorder recording collection


Brush Development Company / Brush Electronincs Company ads

Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collectionBrush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collectionBrush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection   Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection   Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection   Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection   Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection    Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collectionBrush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection  Brush Development Company adin the Reel2ReelTexas.com vintage reel tape recorder recording collection

Brush photos contributed by others

Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME   Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME   Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME   Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME   Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME

Brush BK 313 VRW-1 wire reel to reel recorder - U.S. Navy - photos above provided by Brett Goggin Minot, ME

Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com  Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com   Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com  Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com   Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com  Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.comBrush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com

Brush BK 313 VRW-4wire reel to reel recorder - U.S Navy - photos above provided by Judy Dalton not2bright.com

           


We appreciate all photos sent to our museum. We hope to successfully preserve the sound recording history. If we have not credited a photo, we do not know its origin if it was not taken by the contributor. Please let us know if a photo on our site belongs to you and is not credited. We will be happy to give you credit, or remove it if you so choose.

   

Brush Development Soundmirror BK-401

Brush BK 427 Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection  picture of Brush BK 401 Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection   picture of Brush BK 401 Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection   Brush BK 427 Sound mirror reel tape recorder photo in the reel2reelTexas.com vintage recorder collection  picture of Brush BK 401 Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection   picture of Brush BK 401 Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection Brush Sound mirror reel tape recorder in Reel2ReelTexas.com's vintage recorder collection       

Brush Development Soundmirror BK-414

     

Brush Development Company Mail-A-Voice

Summary from eBay ad for old reel tape.

HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT CIRCA 1939-1945
THE BRUSH DEVELOPMENT CO. PAPER BACKED 
MAGNETIC AUDIO-SOUND RECORDING 
TAPE ON REEL MARKED "PATENTS 
PENDING" IN 1931 PATENTED VENTILATED
CANISTER OF ALUMINUM MADE BY BELL &
HOWELL 

 

THE BRUSH DEVELOPMENT CO - CLEVELAND, OHIO (USA)  - MAGNETIC AUDIO RECORDING TAPE FROM 
THE DAWN OF MODERN AUDIO RECORDING

In 1926 Charles Brush of Cleveland, Ohio sold the first piezo-electric featherweight stylus. Under the name "The Brush Development Company" piezo electric phonograph pickups and other things were manufactured nu the Brush company.

Soon the innovative company shifted to different types of recorders and later in the 1930's Brush began to experiment with developing magnetic tape recorders, called "Soundmirror" and by WW 2, had developed sufficiently
to sell paper tape sound recording equipment and technology to the US Military.   

In the early 1950's the name "The Brush Development Company" had been changed to "Brush Electronics Company." The company stayed at the same address: 3405 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland 14, Ohio during this period in the 1950's.

A MORE CONCISE HISTORY TIMELINE:

1926 - Charles Brush sold the first piezo-electric featherweight stylus.

1938 Semi J. Begun (born in Hungary) of the C. Lorenz Company leaves Germany to start a new career in the United States.   Lorenz then becomes owned by US Capital.   In 1939 Begun takes a job at the Brush Development Company of Cleveland, Ohio.  There Semi Begun began to develop the "Soundmirror" steel tape or wire recorder in early 1939 that would be used by the military. 

But in Germany modern red oxide tape has been used by 1939. Bell / Western Electric stereo recordings LEF Independently, engineers in Germany, Japan and the U.S. discovered and develop AC biasing for magnetic recording as well.   This work
followed through much of the 1930's and perfected by 1939. 

Brush Development Company's main business in 1943 was the production of piezo electric phonograph pickups, the least expensive and most widely used pickup of the late 1930's - besides other activity. 

During the World War 2 - Brush worked on a substitute for the stainless steel wire recorders.  Then Brush with Ampex who made the 3M tape material and others worked on developing paper tape recorders. The singer Bing Crosby and Mullin (Ampex) became the catalyst innovators for tape recording in the USA. 

It was this work that was ushered in with WW 2  that S. J. Begun began to develop the steel tape and coated-paper tape recorders for the US Military.  Between 1942 and 1945 the company designed and successfully sold to the military various types of recorders utilizing plated media in the form of tapes, disks, and wire. At the end of war many "Magnetophons" of the German are taken to USA - commandered by the invaiding US forces.  German patent rights on the technology were seized by the U.S. Alien Property Custodian.

In 1946: The Brush Development Corp. built a semi-professional tape recorder known as the  Model BK-401 (BK401) Soundmirror. The Brush Development company commercially introduced its Soundmirror paper tape recorder first developed in 1939-40.   The Shellmar company manufactured the paper magnetite tape in 1946 for the Brush Soundmirror tape recorder and also a 5-inch magnetic disk for the Brush Mail-A-Voice disk recorder that sold for only $40.

A Brush licensee; Amplifier Corporation of America, introduced the Magnephone tape recorder based on
German technology.

Between 1952 and 1954 according to SAMS Photofacts the company name "The Brush Development Company" had been changed to "Brush Electronics Company". The company stayed at the same address: 3405 Perkins Avenue, Cleveland 14, Ohio.

The tape we show here, because the reel is stamped "MADE IN USA - PATENTS PENDING" - could date this tape to the 1930-1940 period.    The unique Bell and Howell canister of aluminum - with the unusual 'air filter screen' Ventilation system carries a patent number of "1826115" - which dates to October 6, 1931: THUS THE BRUSH TAPE with PATENTS 
PENDING could very make this of the first production run 
of tape made for the US Military after beginning development in 1939 - which went on to be sold to the US Military beginning in 1942 when the US entered World War 2, just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. 

Tape and reel is in new condition and Bell & Howell patented VENTILATED CANISTER, has minor scuffs on the outer surface. 

As the canister has a Patent No. 1826115, which is for "Closures for Containers" and the patent number is from OCTOBER 6, 1931 - all of this thus appears to support that this recording tape with "MADE IN USA - PATENTS PENDING" impressed onto the RED metal reel along with "THE BRUSH DEVELOPMENT CO." name supports that this tape is likely from the era of 1939-1940 or possibly earlier. The tape is clearly not marked with the later 1950's name "THE BRUSH ELECTRIC CO."  The canister is marked
in period pencil "DINNER MUSIC CLASSICAL" on
its lid.

A VERY RARE ARTIFACT FROM THE BIRTH OF MODERN MAGNETIC AUDIO SOUND RECORDING.   artsandsciences 

         

 


The non-profit Museum was dissolved on December 31, 2017. Donations are NOT tax deductible and are now processed by Phantom Productions.

All donations to MOMSR go 100% to support restoration of vintage magnetic recording devices in the private collection and help fund the web site development and hosting.

 

 

Go to: • 3MAEG/MagnetophonAkaiAltecAmplifier CorpAmpexAmproAstaticAstrocom/MarluxBang & OlufsenBellBell & HowellBell LabsBerlant ConcertoneBeyerdynamicBrüel & KjærBrenellBrushCetec GaussConcordCraigCrown • DenonDokorderDualEdisonEicoElectro SoundElectro VoiceEMI/GramophoneFerrographFostexFreemanGrundigHeathKitITCJVCKLHLeevers RichLyrecMagnecordMarantzMCIMitsubishiNagraNakamichiNeumannNewcombNeveOkiOtariPentronPhilipsPioneerPrestoRadio Shack/RealisticRangertoneRCARobertsRolaSansuiScullyShureSolid State LogicSonySoundcraftSpectoneStancil HoffmanStellavoxStephensStuder ReVoxTandbergTape-AthonTapesonicTeac/TascamTechnicsTelefunkenTolnai ToshibaUher VikingWebster Chicago/WebcorWebster ElectricWestern Electric/AltecWilcox-GayWollensak