The BBC at Bush House

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Disk recording: in the early 1960s there were no tape machines in studios so short items were cut onto 78rpm disks so that SMs could play them on the grams.

The picture shows a Presto disc-cutter photographed in E4, Bush, on 16th August 1962. These American machines were initially obtained under Lease/Lend during the early part of the war and were still in use at Bush until the mid-1960s: they were equipped with BBC cutter-heads. A bit clumsy in use, the main problem being inadequate clearance of swarf (the ribbon of lacquer removed when the groove is cut - it is extremely inflammable) which meant that a pile-up could clog up the recording. The microscope was for examining the grooves to adjust the cut depth (groove to 'land' ratio to be 2:1).

Below, a blank disk label.


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Roger Wilmut. This site is not associated with the BBC