10 February 2013

Paper Tape Archives

Vince Long in Montana owns the Paper Tape Archives, a collection of radio program recordings created by a Montana man from the late '40s into the '50s. It was a time when big band performances were broadcast across the country on long waves from swanky hotels, night clubs, dance halls, restaurants, and even skyscraper rooftops. Paper Tape Archives shares those recordings, and Mr. Long writes:

Just as the amateur photographer uses the camera to capture that visual moment in time which holds a special meaning, the home recorder has used various audio devices to grab audible slices of history for repeated listenings. While many home recorders did not look at preservation as their mission, some of their work has outlived them and makes up an interesting tapestry of sounds depicting American life in ways only audio recordings can.

      The recordings featured on this web page originated in Billings, Montana and were made by a gentleman who started his fascination with sound recording using a Webster Chicago Model 80 wire recorder. In 1947-48 he acquired the first commercially available tape recorder, the Brush BK-401, and filled several hundred reels of tape with the sounds of family, friends, and radio broadcasts.

      While the family recordings will remain in private hands, tapes of over-the-air broadcasts and a few non-broadcast recordings from local events are included in this collection. For many of the recordings, the original dates are included, however, many are undated. The bulk of these tapes were made between 1947 and 1953.