EMI reel-to-reel tape recorder

Made in England, United Kingdom, Europe, 1948.

The Electric and Musical Industries (EMI) BTR1 (British Tape Recorder version 1) was the first magnetic tape recording machine designed and manufactured in Britain. It was modelled on the German Magnetophone, examples of which were captured by US troops from the German army toward the end of World War 2. These Magnetophones were taken to the USA, where their design was studied and copied by the Ampex Corporation. The technology was shared with allies including the UK.

The development of tape re...


Object No.


Physical Description

Reel-to-reel tape recorder, BTR1, metal / plastic / glass / electronic components, designed and manufactured by EMI (Electric and Musical Industries), England, 1948

Professional type tape recorder for use in broadcasting, recording and research. The equipment is housed in a studio console cabinet. The tape deck is on top with the control panel facing the front above access doors.



The EMI BTR1 design is based upon the German Magnetophone. The Magnetophone hardware was designed by AEG and the tape by the chemical company IG Farben. It was in use by German radio and military forces by 1936.

Magnetic recording existed prior to the tape machine in the form of metal wire recorders, whihc were originally designed and built around 1900 by Danish inventor Valdemar Poulson, who was then working for the Copenhagen Telephone Company.

Manufactured by EMI in the UK.





Around 1995 this EMI BTR/1 was delivered to the EMI music premises in Sydney where it was declined. Steve Crane accepted it from an unknown source and kept it until he offered it to Anthony Russo of the Technical Audio Group. It remained at the donor's premises until it was given to the Museum.


Credit Line

Gift of Technical Audio Group, 2002

Acquisition Date

25 September 2002

Cite this Object


EMI reel-to-reel tape recorder 2014, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 18 March 2018, <https://ma.as/11152>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/11152 |title=EMI reel-to-reel tape recorder |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=18 March 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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