The man who stored telephone numbers
Schaub-Lorenz Music Centers have lent themselves to a whole
variety of uses, including the provision of continuous background music in hotel foyers, pubs and
One of the more unusual uses, Mike Solomons remembered, concerned an engineer who
stored telephone numbers as tones on the music center's tape recording unit, so he could
effectively telephone a large list of stored numbers! In other words, a telephone memory
It turns out that the engineer
in question was the same Schaub Lorenz engineer who was brought over from Germany to train Mike
how to repair the complex, faulty music centers in 1970.
Phonus operandi !
Here's how he did it. The Schaub
engineer connected a telephone dialler to the tape recorder using a specially made circuit and
then recorded a code that represented the number required. When played back, the tones went
through more circuitry (devised by engineer) that was connected to the telephone
The procedure for making a
- Look up a person you
wanted to call (callee), who was registered by sector letter and number in a log book [e.g.
- Turn the track-selector dial
on the music center to the selected sector letter and number of the callee
- Lift the telephone
- Press the PLAY button on the
The replayed electronic code would then dial the callee.
If you were doing this today,
you would simply record the various dialling tones that you hear when making a call. The
engineer may have had to record a simple set of tones to cause a relay to click, but Mike cannot
be sure, as he has no idea what kind of dialling system  was in use in Germany at that
Fairies at the bottom of the garden
Herbert Hamann, a former Graetz
employee who worked on the BBG (music center) project in Altena, gave a short account of a very
unusual application he had come across for the music center during a talk at the 30th
anniversary meeting of the GFGF radio club in Erfurt in May 2008.
A machine - described as a
"strange sort of tape recorder" was spotted by an sound engineer at the bottom of someone's
garden in a shed beside the Rhein-Herne Canal in Germany. He found a wooden cabinet which
contained a music center chassis inside.
On top of the cabinet was a box containing two circular carousels with 18 colour
slides. The music center was connected by a cable to the carousels, which moved the
carousel by means of a drive motor and trip switch (on/off switch), and also played the next
voiceover appropriate to the slide.
Two sets of
Viewmaster eye pieces had been fitted to the outside of the box, enabling the
viewer to see a series of stereoscopic slides which automatically moved slowly from one slide to
the next, in synchrony with a fairy story recorded on the music center´s tape.
Apparently the machine had been
used in department stores to amuse children whilst mothers went shopping!
1. Probably Strowger