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Wire Recorders and Hogan's Heroes Sock Thread Player
Hogan's Heroes is my all-time favorite TV show. I have the complete DVD collection, and every time Melanie makes a German meal for dinner (sauerbraten, bratwurst, wiener schnitzel, potato pancakes - yum!), we turn on the boob tube and watch an episode of Hogan's Heroes whilst eating. Today, while searching for tech headlines, I ran across an article on the EE Times website titled, "Magnetic Wire Recorders Rule!" Author Max Maxfield, who comes up with a lot of good topics and has written about wire recorders in the past, relates a story about an engineer who built a high-quality version of a wire recorder using modern components. The engineer believes his grandfather might have been at least partially responsible for a wire recorder experimenter's kit that was advertised in a 1949 issue of Wireless World. The company, Park Radio, claimed it would be, "More thrilling than Radio -- More gripping than Television." I've seen YouTube videos of wire recorders in action (you can buy vintage wire recorders on eBay), but the coolest example IMHO, albeit not real, is when Hogan and his guys use a wire recording playback device disguised as a sewing kit (see below). Messages are covertly delivered as threads than have been sewn into socks or overcoats, and once retrieved, are wound onto a wooden thread spool and played to hear the secret message (usually with a British accent). The coffee pot amplifier and speaker normally used for listening in on conversations in Colonel Klink's office is used to process the voice signal. Ach du lieber!
Wire Recorder Kit from Park Radio Wire Thread Playback Machine in a Sewing Basket