Phono Trix Model 2 Portable Tape Recorder (1959)

           

The Phono Trix Model 2 is a delightful vintage tape recorder. Manufactured in West Germany in 1959, it is fully transistorized, operating on four D batteries. The first photo shows the recorder in its case with carrying handle. Weighing in at 4.5 pounds, it's about the size of a camera.

Opening the case reveals the recorder deck and its simple controls. To the right is the built-in speaker, which also provides space for stowing the microphone. The mike plugs into the side of the recorder.

Unsnapping a lid inside the cover shows us the storage space for tapes and reels.

I purchased this recorder at an estate sale; it included six recorded tapes: four of them document trips within the United States and two others are labeled "Mrs. Smith's trip to Europe and Asia."

I'm eager to listen to these tapes, but first I'll have to service the recorder. In any tape machine of this vintage, you can expect to find aged rubber parts and dried-out lubricant. It's rather pointless to try using the recorder until it has been cleaned, lubed, and refurbished. I'll also need to clean up the battery compartment; someone left old batteries in the recorder, which deteriorated.

My recorded tapes are all dated in the late 1960s. Phono Trix produced various models of "miniature" recorder during the 1960s. If you do an Internet search for the name, you can find various bits of info about those.

The radiomuseum.org website has some additional information about this recorder.

The recorder pictured there looks identical to mine except for one difference. My recorder has a plastic cover on the base; to replace the batteries, you remove the recorder from its case and then remove the cover as shown in my final photo. In the one shown at radiomuseum.org, you unsnap a flap on the bottom of the case.

This is a monophonic, "voice quality" recorder, designed for dictation, travelogues, and family events. I own a second German recorder from around the same time, my Telefunken Model 77.

That's a much more expensive device—Telefunken's first stereo recorder—and it's not something you'd sling over your shoulder while traveling. It's so heavy that I usually lift it with two hands!

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