Examples of this include an illustration of the magnetic field of a bar magnet in a telegraphone
and an illustration of how early cameras projected an image through a pinhole aperture.
1899 marked the beginning of the first revolution in magnetic recording technology as Valdemar Poulsen of Denmark invented and patented the first true magnetic recorder, the Telegraphone
. Magnetic Recording, although dramatically advanced since its invention by Poulsen, remains the single most enabling technology for digital data recording systems.
In the summer of 1898, the Danish telephone technician Valdemar Poulsen invented the telegraphone, the world's first functional magnetic recorder.(1) Aided by the Danish businessman Soren Lemvig Fog, Poulsen set up a research laboratory and a Danish corporation to develop and manufacture machines of his design.
Given the eventual success of magnetic recording, why were Poulsen and his collaborators in Denmark and abroad unable to develop the telegraphone into a commercial product?
Of course, the problems of product development are not unique to the telegraphone. Numerous authors have pointed out the difficulties associated with bringing new technology to the workplace and the marketplace.(2) The primary focus of this literature, however, has been on the cultural and organizational factors that lead groups to reject new technology.
Three factors are central to an understanding of the telegraphone's commercial failure.
Second, Poulsen, his fellow Danes, and the German firms they worked with were primarily interested in finding some application for the telegraphone within the telephone system.
Finally, the directors of the American company, though adhering to a more promising "Dictaphone frame of meaning" in their search for a market for the telegraphone, used inappropriate management techniques as a result of their prior experiences in other manufacturing companies.
The first attempt to commercialize the technology drew on Danish radio pioneer Valdemar Poulsen's 1898 invention of a device called the Telegraphone. The basis of this crude recorder was similar in some ways to that of the phonograph, in that Poulsen recognized that sound waves could be converted into other forms of energy to be stored and replayed.(2) The phonograph stored sound energy as grooves of varying depth; the Telegraphone took advantage of the microphone, a device adapted from the telephone, and the induction coil.
The Telegraphone was a grand prize winner at the 1900 International Exposition in Paris, and it received a great deal of praise from the technical press and from scientific organizations like the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Although it retained the basic recording principle of the Telegraphone, the BBC machine represented a much higher state of refinement, particularly in its use of the newly developed electronic amplifier.(7)
5 The American Telegraphone Company, promotional material in the William J.