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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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Cone of Loudness: 1922

Cone of Loudness: 1922

October 1922. New York. "Kopp" is all it says on this glass negative depicting a pair of kettledrums next to what might be a speaker horn or a mega-microphone. Bain News Service. View full size.

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Acoustic Recording Studio

The first commercial electrical recordings date to 1924/1925. Before that recordings were made with acoustic recording equipment.

In other words, physical horns gathered the sounds and cut the sound vibrations into wax.

So what you are looking at is the "microphone" (though it would not be called that until recording was electrical) of an acoustic recording studio, with the cutting machine behind the curtain.

Kopp on Drums

"Kopp" was probably percussionist Howard Kopp. See this link:


Maybe they're measuring the absorption of phonons.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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