Brush Development Company

Brush Development Company

Brush Development Company was a manufacturer of audio, phonographic products and magnetic recording technologies located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.


Originally founded in 1919 by Charles Francis Brush Jr. as Brush Labs, a research company based in Cleveland, Ohio, the company was started with the intention to develop phonographic products that utilized piezoelectric crystals. Mr. Brush died prematurely in 1927 but his backers founded the Brush Development Company in 1930 to commercialise the inventions of Brush Labs. The newly formed company became the USA's biggest manufacturer of instrument recorders and other test and measurement instrumentation in the latter half of the 30s. Brush's main business in 1943 was the production of piezoelectric phonograph pickups. [ Audiotools: Defunct Audio Manufacturers]

Another of their products was wire recorders. These used ferromagnetic stainless steel wire, with a composition similar to high carbon high chromium cutlery steel as the recording medium. The recording head was a split ring, with the wire running in a groove in the head, quite similar to the heads used today. High frequency ac bias was used to linearize the recording. The ferritic stainless steel was quite strong. Diamond dies were required to draw it into wire. [ Audiotools: Defunct Audio Manufacturers]

The Brush Vice President for Research, Dr.S. J. Begun, obtained a contract from the US National Defense Research Council to perform research and development on a substitute for the stainless steel wire. The work was justified by the military use of the recorders and the shortage of facilities for producing the diamond dies. It resulted in the production through work at Battelle Memorial Institute of iron oxide magnetic recording tape of exceptional quality. After the war Brush released the Mail-A-Voice dictation recorder in 1946 and the first USA built tape recorder in 1947. For a time in the early 50's the company became the primary supplier of automated tape recorders for businesses such as aviation control and telephone exchanges. [ Audiotools: Defunct Audio Manufacturers]

Brush Development Co. merged with the original Brush Labs and the Cleveland Graphite Bronze company in 1952 with the resulting new company named Clevite. Audio products continued being sold using the Brush trademark as late as 1960. The Clevite company exited the audio market altogether in 1963 and was taken over by Gould National Battery in 1969. [ Audiotools: Defunct Audio Manufacturers]



*Gerard M. Foley. personal recollections of work sponsored at Battelle Memorial Institute by Brush 1943-1945.

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