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MacPhee House Community Museum

Aid, Hearing


Accession number: 2006.004.003
Date: 1948 – 1970
Materials: Aluminum; Copper; Plastic; Glass; Solder; Paper
Measurements: 12 cm L x 6.15 cm W x 2.1 cm ThickLength is over the control knobs; Case L = 11.7 cm : Case metal T = 0.05 cm T is without Clip; T over Clip = 2.9 cm; Clip L = 4.2 cm; W = 0.7 cm Lid: T= 0.6 cm Equipment Port: L= 0.8 cm; W = 0.2 cm Speaker Grill: L = 2.6 cm; W = 1.85 cm
Marks/Label: Engraved on the face: Otarion (see Image 1)

Inside cover, Paper Label : (See Image 4)
MODEL E4D
BE SURE TO REMOVE BATTERIES WHEN NOT IN USE
MADE IN USA
BY
OTARION
CHICAGO

Inside bottom of case, Paper Label ( See Image 5)
Notice
Licensed by Western Electric Compcny, Incorporated, under US Patents of American Telephone an dTelegraph Company, Incorporated, for use as a hearing adjunct for the  use of persons with impaired hearing.
the Otarion Hearing Aids, units thereof and accessories therewith, herein described, are manufactured under one or more of the  following US Patents: 2280304, 2280305,2284063, 2284451,2290816, 2296454, 2418410, and 2434211; also under Canadian Patent 1943.
OTHER PATENTS PENDING
 
Narrative: Attempts to improve failing hearing are as old as who-ever first cupped their hand around their ear to catch sound! In 1588 Giovanni Battista Porta (1535-1615), an Italian physician, scientist and cryptographer, described some early hearing aids in Magia Naturalis. The hearing aids were made of wood and shaped like the ears of animals known to have acute hearing.
In 1640 Marcus Banzer reports the first known attempt to use an artificial substitute for the tympanic membrane in his book De Auditione Laesa, published in Wittenberg; and by the late 1700s, Funnel or conical ear trumpets are common hearing devices. The first British Patent for a hearing aid, an curved earpiecs worn behind the ear. was issued in 1836.
Electronics began to be used in hearing aids after the invention by John Ambrose Flemmming in 1904 of the two-electrode radio rectifier, also known as the vacuum diode and Fleming valve. This device was the first electronic rectifier of radio waves, converting alternating-current radio signals into weak direct currents detectable by a telephone receiver.
Otarion began to manufacture hearing aids in 1940, having been established in 1904 in Denmark as a hearing aid distributor.
One-piece vacuum tube hearing devices become feasible with the miniaturization developments in both batteries and vacuum tubes. Earlier multi-pack vacuum tube hearing devices had separate battery packs and amplifier/microphone packs. Paravox introduces a 1-piece model in 1942; Mears in 1943; and Beltone in 1944. This Otarion one-piece is probably from the late 1940s or early 1950s. Transistors began to replace vacuum tubes from the early 1950s.
The latest US Patent on the label insid ethe unit was issued on January 6 1948, and the unit has vacuum tubes, not transistors; so we are assigning a Begin Date after 1948, and probably the early 1950s.
While this Model E4D has a built-in speaker, it also supported a wired earpiece that plugged in to ports at the control end of the unit. This earpiece was an early version of the "Ear Buds" used with MP3 players today. The earpiece did not accompany the unit when it was donated.
Description: Rectangular metal case; Silver colour; Clip on underside; Control knobs at end.
History of Use: Used in the donor's family until replaced by an updated device.
Manufacturer: Otarion