Saturday, September 02, 2017

IFA in perspective

The IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (International Radio Exhibition Berlin), organized for the first time in 1924, is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany. Today it is one of world's leading trade shows for consumer electronics and home appliances. The Consumer Electronics Show (commonly known as the CES) held in Las Vegas may be more spectacular some years, but it dates back only to 1967.

German physicist and inventor Manfred von Ardenne gave a public demonstration of a television system using a cathode ray tube for both transmission and reception at the 1931 IFA show. AEG, founded in 1883 by Emil Rathenau, showed the first practical audio recorder employing magnetic tape at the 1935 event. A year later the Cologne inventor, Dr. Karl Daniel, perfected a device which could play up to four hours of music or speech at a touch of a button, and in a quality comparable with that of the shellac gramophone records of the day. His Tefifon worked more like a record player, since it read an endless plastic tape housed in cartridges by pressing a stylus to deep plastic grooves.

Although it was only after the war that the Tefifon flourished for a short decade, during which it was seen in Germany as revolutionary.

Readers may expect this intriguing and largely forgotten invention will play a role in one of my stories set in Germany on the eve of the Second World War.

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