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|This repository contains files for the "Early Wire Recording Experiment" made by the Maker Lab in the Humanities (MLab) at the University of Victoria ([http://maker.uvic.ca/](http://maker.uvic.ca/)). The Early Wire Recording Experiment prompts users to repeat the earliest known magnetic recording experiment, conducted by Valdemar Poulsen as early as 1898. Poulsen holed up in a cabin in rural Denmark where he recorded, replayed, erased, and rerecorded the name, "Jacob." He strung piano wire from one side of his room to the other. Then he ran alongside the wire with a trolley containing an electromagnet. For parts, Poulsen deconstructed a wall-mounted telephone. He magnetized the wire by connecting a telephone transmitter, battery and electromagnet in a circuit. As he yelled into the transmitter and the electromagnet ran along the wire, his voice left a magnetic trace along the wire. For playback, he would connect the receiver to the electromagnet. As the electromagnet ran over the magnetized sections of the wire, it caused the receiver’s diaphragm to vibrate, indicating playback. The only known account of this experiment is in [Marvin Camras’ Magnetic Recording Handbook](https://books.google.ca/books?id=PdruCAAAQBAJ&q=Poulsen#v=snippet&q=Poulsen&f=false). It contains a simple stick figure drawing of how the experiment was said to work.|
|![Camras' illustration of experiment](experiment.jpg)|
|![Camras' illustration of experiment](experiment.png)|
|We imitated this experiment and exhibited it on the UVic campus at the [Audain Gallery](https://finearts.uvic.ca/visualarts/events/galleries/), in the Visual Arts Building from Tuesday, June 14th through Friday, June 17th. As users shouted into the transmitter, they left a trace along the wire, visible when iron filings were held up to the wire. In contrast, playback was unreliable and almost impossible to hear. At best, we were only able to hear small clicks as the electromagnet passed over magnetized sections. Since Poulsen’s experiment took place before Direct Current (DC) bias or amplification, we speculate that playback in this first iteration was far from reliable. Poulsen may have been more interested in recording and erasing over the same material than he was in ensuring reliable playback.|