Scope and Contents
Title: Bell Labs Early Stereo Collection
Collection number: ARS.0118
: 6 12" open reel tapes ; 3 LPs ; one metal part
Archive of Recorded Sound
Material related to two 1979 Bell Telephone Laboratories albums titled "Early Hi-Fi ; Wide Range and Stereo Recordings Made
by Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1930s - Leopold Stokowski Conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra, 1931-1932."
Language of Material: English
Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for
Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain
permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.
Bell Labs Early Stereo Collection, ARS-0118. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries,
This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Scope and Contents
Master dubs on open reel tape, commercially released LP pressings, and a metal part for the Bell Telephone Laboratories albums
titled "Early Hi-Fi ; Wide Range and Stereo Recordings Made by Bell Telephone Laboratories in the 1930s - Leopold Stokowski
Conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra, 1931-1932."
The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski began performing live on NBC's radio network in 1929, but Stokowski
was unhappy with the fidelity of these early broadcasts, and approached physicist Harvey Fletcher at Bell Laboratories seeking
ways to improve the transmissions. Bell Labs had been involved with developing improved sound recording and reproduction since
1915, and was willing to record Stokowski and the orchestra among other test subjects, and so in in 1931 and 1932, one hundred
experimental high fidelity, long playing, and stereophonic recordings of the Philadelphia Orchestra were produced. These recordings,
being excerpted passages rather than full works, were experimental and not intended for commercial release at the time. However,
over forty years later, engineer Ward Marston transferred the original metal stampers to tape, and in 1979 Bell Labs celebrated
these early technological advances with a vinyl issue in two volumes. As part of this release, Stanford University hosted
a special conference and received a commemorative box containing a metal part (of unknown origin, perhaps from the 1930s session,
but more likely for one of the 1979 discs).
Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Sound--Recording and reproducing