>> you know, I'd still like to see a photo of the complete original unit and
>> how it was to be set up - for example, how did it answer the phone?
>> mechanically? there seems to be no phone connection to it
> We had an early answering machine -- Maybe Record-a-Call brand. It had
> a cradle that went between the phone and the handset on the standard
> desk phone. I can't recall exactly, but I believe it lifted the
> handset to answer the phone. Seems to me it used some proprietary???
> cartridge tape system for the outgoing message and incoming messages.
> It would rewind to the beginning of the tape to play the outgoing
> message, then fast forward until it found a "marker" on the tape, at
> which point it would record the incoming message. So if there were a
> bunch of messages already recorded ahead of yours, you had to wait
> quite a while to record your message. If you lost power, the machine
> lost track of how many markers to look for, so incoming messages got
> recorded over. It was a touchy machine, I remember repairing it many
> times, as a kid.
> I recall later systems using standard audio cassettes and of course,
> later, micro cassettes.
Well, this thing is older than the Record-a-Call - it has a single
continuous loop 3 minute cartridge for the incoming calls, and a length of
unpackaged tape in the serpentine arrangement (visible in the original
picture) that held the outgoing message - a strip of conductive material let
it know when the serpentine tape had returned to the starting position.
There is no obvious way for it to lift the receiver, at the back, on the top
is a three pin connection marked "line", and a miniature phone jack marked
"mic", at the front are two miniature phone jacks, marked monitor and ext
spk. I suppose it is possible that the "line" connector was wired into the
phone some how. I haven't been able to find any photo of this early model
installed in an operational configuration, finding such a photo would
probably answer my questions. or finding a copy of a manual to download.