How a Dictaphone & other vintage office transcription machines worked

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (4)

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Vintage Dictaphone: Here’s the secret (1955)

Here’s the secret of the world’s most timesaving, worksaving, money-saving dictating machine — the Dictaphone Time-Master.

This secret is the Dictabelt Record. It’s crystal clear, unbreakable, mailable, postcard size, fileable — and it records an average day’s dictation for just a few pennies.

Write for Dictaphone’s illustrated booklet — “Communication.” We’ll send you a free Dictabelt, too.


Dictabelt records (1956)

Easiest way to do a week’s dictation: put it on 5 Dictabelt records
1956-dictaphone belts

Time-Master/7 – 1950s

Simply the most superior dictation instrument ever developed to speed your work.

Here’s important news for anyone whose job requires written communication. A bright new day for automatic dictation is here with the new Dictaphone Time-Master/7 –the first totally new dictating machine idea since the first Time-Master was introduced in 1948.

It’s an instrument so appealing, so simple, so decidedly different in every way that it will prove an immediate advance for anyone whose job requires written communication.

Everything’s new but the name!

Elegant simplicity of design — Raymond Loewy/William Snaith, Inc. styling

— One third smaller and lighter than other fine Time-Master models.

— New blue Dictabelt for “sound you can see”

— Automatic Dictabelt positioning

— The Power-Mike with automatic backspacing

— Unique Power Feed Indication System

These vintage IBM electric typewriters rocked the business scene in the '50s

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (4)

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (6)

The new shape for thoughts to go

When you first see the newest Time-Master, you will admire its modern, polished look. A third smaller in overall size than its remarkably small predecessor, it is also a third lighter (just over 7 lbs.).

Yet, it packs more convenient features into its rugged frame than ever before. It’s actually the most complete desk dictating unit ever offered– yet it fits into the case you take work home in.

The cover is another first from Dictaphone Corporation, who pioneered magnesium castings and transistors for the dictating machine industry. It’s a new polymeric miracle material recently developed after years of exhaustive research. It provides improved acoustics and is uniquely immune to stains and mars.

With features that make dictation simple, the new Time-Master has simply everything. It’s designed to do a job, your job, and make it as effortlessly automatic for you as possible.

Just a touch and Dictabelt loads itself

Positioning a Dictabelt used to be easy — now it’s automatic. A unique new loading principle requires only that you start the Dictabelt into position with a touch. As it crosses the mandrels, an ingenious hidden trigger device snaps it into position and you are ready to go. Total time about one second.

Talk about convenience — this is as easy as inserting a card in a time clock. To remove the Dictabelt just press “Belt” button at front of the machine, and slide it off.

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (5)

Introducing the Power-Mike with Continuous Backspacing — You have taken a second to automatically position the Dictabelt.

Now your thumb and thoughts take over, for you never need touch the machine again until ready to remove the belt. Time-Master/7 is always ready for dictation once you pick up the microphone.

The new lightweight Power-Mike has a comfortable start-stop cushion in its center. Then, you will notice two small levers which make for easiest control of all functions as you dictate.

Power Backspace — A touch upward on the right lever brings you a continuous review of as much of your dictation as you would like to hear in quick, convenient sections.

Quick Review — A downward touch on the right lever provides a brief review of your dictation.

Corrections and Letter Lengths — A touch upward on the left lever signals your secretary that there is a correction or special instruction to be noted. This action instantly activates an electronic marker which makes a clear, bold line on the lower half of the indication slip. A touch downward marks the upper half to indicate the letter length. It couldn’t be easier or more natural.

Unique Power Feed Indication System — You have fussed with your last indication slip once you begin using the new Time-Master/7. Even the convenient multi-slip pad on predecessor model Time-Master is now old-fashioned.

This totally new concept is so positive and ingeniously simple that you will want to tinker with it even when you are not writing letters. Here’s how it works.

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (2)

Twenty-five slips, enough for more than a month’s dictation, are stored in a tiny, continuous roll. This is placed in the storage area undercover at the front of the machine, and the first slip positioned under a clear, lucite window in exact alignment with the grooves on the belt.

When you complete the Dictabelt, you merely press the “slip” button and out it slides followed by a fresh slip which positions itself perfectly.

The method of marking is a clever innovation for greater convenience. The indications are made from beneath the slip; this eliminates the marking unit, thus providing better visibility as you dictate.

And, of course, the indication slips may be used with all previous model Time-Master transcribing units.

The “sound you can see” in Electronic Blue — You’ll like the fresh look of the new Dictabelt record. Proved best for dictation in thousands of installations, this unique record now adds a new dimension. It is a bright, precise blue, pleasing to the eye, complimentary to new Time- Master’s contemporary design.

You see your dictation form crisply before your eyes, and are confident that it’s there to stay on permanent tone grooves.

You can mail or file Dictabelts as easily as a letter. And because you use them just once, you save costly rehandling. What’s more they cost no more than the stamp you use to mail your letter.

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (3)

New syllable-fresh recording for clearest reproduction — The most important feature of any dictating machine is its ability to record and reproduce each syllable exactly.

Anything less than the best reduces the effectiveness of this time-saving method. The Dictabelt’s wide voice frequency band (125 to 5200 cps) produces the highest standard of intelligibility in a dictating machine.

Why most Secretaries like Dictabelt best

In scores of tests the Dictabelt has proved most superior for secretarial transcribing. Now the striking new electronic color makes tone grooves even more vivid for fast, pleasant typing.

The Dictabelt provides uniform recording from beginning to end which means uniform, measured backspacing and no wasted time when listening back.

Additionally, Time-Master/7 by scientific design of microphone, amplifier and recorder tailors the response in the area of sound where words are most intelligible.

Finally with the clear, plastic blue Dictabelt secretaries need handle the recording just once — there is no need to erase for re-dictation. Single-use Dictabelts save time and memory.

Easy to reach, smartly functional machine controls — Three in-built button-controls are located at the front of the machine. One releases the Dictabelt, another the indication slip, and the third selects playback, either through the microphone (confidential) or speaker (loud).

In the left-hand corner a uniquely designed floating ring knob regulates volume. A convenient squeeze button is your new carriage control. It allows you to move freely and easily to any point on the Dictabelt.

And to make the new Time-Master even more handsome, the power connections are hidden underneath. The cords for microphone and wall outlet extend through tailored recesses.

Dictaphone Time Master 7 office recording machines from the late 1950s (1)

An in-built memory that won’t let you forget — You will discover new Time-Master a faithful servant that will help you keep your thoughts only on the important dictation you give it.

In most instances, it automatically takes care of functions you might perform incorrectly. When it doesn’t, you get the word instantly through distinctive signals.

The microphone hang-up switch is also new and flexible — it folds itself should the machine brush against a hard surface and when the Power Mike is in position an in-built magnet holds it in place.

Famous Dictaphone dependability saves you time — Although the new Time-Master is a third smaller and lighter, it is more complete than any dictation machine ever offered. Mechanically it is letter-perfect with a powerful new transistor solid state amplifier.

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The most advanced method of electronic control ensures peak performance when you need it; tiny pulse circuits housed in modern printed wiring store the energy until it’s required.

There are no friction drive surfaces anywhere, and this combined with a new mechanical clutch and motor means greatest economy of operation through reduced wear.

Best of all, experienced Dictaphone service is available everywhere with trained technicians on hand to provide regular maintenance in- spections. When you make your new Time-Master investment, be sure to go first-class with a low-cost maintenance contract.

Dictaphone 1955

Dimensions: 10″ wide, 2 3 A” high, 9-1/2″ deep.

Weight: 7 pounds 1 1 oz. including microphone and cable.

Recording medium: New electronic blue Dictabelt record for improved “sound you can see.” Fifteen-minute recording on performance- proved cellulose acetate butyrate. More precisely visible, permanent tone grooves and syllable-fresh recording for clearest reproduction.

New automatic Dictabelt positioning: Just a touch and Dictabelt loads itself due to ingenious hidden trigger device. Total load time — about one second!

Power feed indication system: Multi-slip indication roll positions slip under Dictabelt record, in exact alignment with grooves on belt. Indi- vidual slips feed out automatically. Slip compatible with all Dictaphone transcribing machines.

Power microphone: Lightweight, palm-size (low-impedance dynamic), comfortable start-stop cushion, controls for start-stop, quick review, continuous automatic backspacing, corrections and letter length.

Easy to reach, smartly functional machine controls: Floating ring volume control, Dictabelt release, indication slip ejection button, and playback button for choice of listening through microphone or in-built speaker, all located front of machine for fingertip convenience.

Playback: Through hand microphone or built-in loudspeaker.

The way offices used to look: Vintage office furniture and sleek mid-century modern desks from 1959

Effortless dictation (1958)

… is what you get with the automatic dictation machine
Dictaphone - Effortless dictation (1958)

Record with the Dictaphone Time-Master (1958)

Now… your dictation can be effortless with the all-new, all-transistor Dictaphone Time-Master — the automatic dictating machine. Touch-button controls — right on the new mike — make written communication as easy as telephoning.

And your voice on the exclusive Dictabelt record is unmistakably clear, can’t be accidentally erased. You make corrections and changes with touch-button ease.

The beautiful new Time-Master is the nearest thing yet to automation in dictation. This obliging machine will help you get ahead… help your secretary keep ahead of her work. Her transcribing Time-Master is just as automatic.

ALSO SEE: How do you use a rotary-dial phone? Find out, plus get top telephone tips from the olden days

Record with the Dictaphone Time-Master - 1958

StenoCord dictation systems from 1964

StenoCord dictation systems from 1964

Norelco dictator-transcriber from 1968

Norelco dictator-transcriber from 1968

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