Devised, researched
 and written
  Peter King Smith BSc

                                                         The mid-1960s, German-built multi-track tape recorder with FM/AM/SW radio

Jim Weir: Lord of The Rings

Clockmaker bought music center for £20
Another of my antique-radio internet contacts is Jim, a clockmaker and inventor, living in Scotland. Jim bought his Schaub-Lorenz Music Center 5001 back in the 1970s, after someone came into his old radio and musical-box workshop in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, and asked him if he would like to buy it, which he did for £20. 

New pulley needed to slow down tape drum
In the late 1970s, Jim wanted to record several radio programmes onto the tape, but all the programmes were to be broadcast in 30-minute episodes, too long for the 22-minute tape duration of the music center. The pulley in the tape unit defines the speed that the tape drum revolves; by slowing down the speed of the tape drum, you can extend the duration of recordings. 

Clockmaker turns inventor
Jim found an ingenious workaround for this problem by inventing, turning and installing a 'dual pulley' (two-spindled pulley) into his music center; only single-spindled pulleys were ever installed during manufacture. "I am a clock repairer by trade and have my own workshop", says Jim.

     The 'rings' in Jim Weir's dual-spindled pulley

New pulley extends recording from 22 to 30 mins
He installed his 'dual pulley' in his 5001 music center so he could "record all 6 half-hour episodes of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, broadcast on the BBC World Service in 1978, and later, Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings a couple of years later. "The Lord of The Rings was originally broadcast by the BBC in 26 half-hour episodes, so the new, long-play pulley enabled me to record all 13 hours of it".  

Jim still uses his 5001 music center today as his workshop radio.