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In the early days of microphone development, some weird and wonderful designs were produced. Since they were a focal point whenever they were used, microphones were often made to look impressive; people were well aware of the power of these 'Ears of the World'. They formed the bridge between those in front of the microphone in a radio studio and the growing numbers of listeners, or performers on stage and their captivated audiences. These 'transmitters' needed to ooze respect.

It would be a long time before anyone would be disrespectful enough to consider a 'mike-drop'.

Even though this Mic of the Month was produced in 1935, or a little later, it is a carbon microphone, based on the original Reisz design (Mic of the Month June 2018) from 1923. This casing is made of Bakelite in stead of marble.

The first good dynamic, the Western Electric 618, had already been introduced, in 1931, but some manufacturers still believed there was a future for decent carbon microphones.
One of these manufacturers was Parmeko (Partridge & Mee Ltd), founded in 1927, in Leicester, by 1935, they also had a London branch.

Parmeko made all sorts of wound components, like transformers and loudspeakers. The company, now forgotten, was well known at the time. Some of their loud speakers (based on an American design) were chosen by the BBC for studio use in the late Thirties, they would remain in service there until the end of the Fifties. The company remained active at least until 1968.

I have never encountered another specimen of this type, which was preceded by another Reisz based model. Later, in the Forties, a handheld carbon was produced.

This model 104 has s a very distinct shape, it never fails to attract attention with its almost steam punk like looks. Although the sound quality is poor by today's standards, it is a great prop and as such it has featured in Dutch movies and tv series.

This and many more types feature in my book Witnesses of Words. More information about that can be found at

wow cover


Parmeko Nr.104
Parmeko back

Top: the impressive look of the Parmeko no.104

Middle: detailed view & back side - the large screw covers the hole for the carbon granulate

Below: the sound and two pre WW2 ads for Parmeko

Listen to the sound of the Parmeko no. 104

Parmeko 2nd ad Parmeko ad