Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

The Hearing Aid Museum

Hearing Aids of all types—Ear Trumpets, Carbon Hearing Aids, Vacuum Tube Hearing Aids, Transistor Hearing Aids, Body Hearing Aids, Eyeglass Hearing Aids and much more!

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Click on the "General Information" button (top button above) for an overview and general information on this category of hearing aid.

 

Carbon Hearing Aids: 1900-1939

Rein "Oravox" (Quad-Microphone) Carbon Hearing Aid

The Rein "Oravox" (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid was manufactured by the F. C. Rein Company located at 108 Strand Street, London, England, probably around 1941. (Rein had just purchased the Oravox Co. in 1940).

Note that originally "Rein" was pronounced like "Rhine" in the Rhine river. However, during the Second World War, they thought the name was too German-sounding, so they began pronouncing it like the English word "rain".

This hearing aid without the battery weighed 7.0 oz. (200 g).
 

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Back

 

Front view of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the carbon microphone array. These microphones were hooked together in parallel.

Using 4 microphones hooked in parallel lowered the resistance of the circuit and thus allowed more current to flow which increased the earphone's volume. Thus a quad-microphone carbon hearing aid was the high-powered hearing aid of the time.

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Close-up view of the front of a single microphone of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the starburst microphone grill pattern.

These microphones used carbon balls (shot)—you can hear them "rattle" when you shake them.

Each microphone measured 2⅛" in diameter by 9/16" thick (5.4 x 1.5 cm).

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Rear view of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid microphone array showing the pocket clip on the top microphone.

The microphone array by itself weighed a hefty 5.7 oz. (160 g).


 

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Close-up view of the back of the top microphone (above picture) showing the pocket clip. A the top of the pocket clip is a slot for threading a lanyard through so you could hang it around your neck if you preferred.

 

 

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Close-up view of the back of the bottom microphone (two pictures above) showing the name "Rein Oravox" (bottom left), and where it was made "London" (bottom right).

At the bottom between the two screw heads is stamped "British made" and below that "PATENT".

 

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Close-up view of the front center of the microphone array of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the plate joining the four microphones. Note that a wire runs in the grooves (except the bottom left groove) thus connecting each of these microphones together.

 

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Close-up view of the back center of the microphone array of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the how the metal plate slid into slots in each microphone and was held in place by two screws.

This metal plate formed the second (ground or return) conductor in the circuit.

 

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Front view of the Rein Oravox (Double-Microphone) carbon hearing aid sliding on-off switch shown in the "on" position. At the top is the word "ON" and at the bottom is the word "OFF".

Note that this hearing aid did not have a volume control. You chose the hearing aid with the power to fit your hearing loss. Thus you might need the single microphone hearing aid for a mild hearing loss, a double-microphone aid for a moderate loss and the quad-microphone aid for a more severe loss.

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Rear view of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid on-off switch case showing the words "F C Rein & Son. London" and below that "Covered by patents No. 747465  297620  288950  290943  277908" stamped into it.

 

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Side view of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid on-off switch case. The case measured ⅞" in diameter by ⅜" thick (2.3 x 1.0 cm).

 

 

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Close-up view of the battery plug of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid. Note that the prongs of the plug are of different sizes so you couldn't plug it in "backwards".

This hearing aid probably used a 3 or 4½ volt battery. The Museum does not have a battery with this exact pin spacing so the size and shape of the battery is unknown.

Note the split-pin design. This allowed the pins to be slightly spread so they would make good contact with the jacks and also so they wouldn't get loose and fall out.

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Front view of the receiver of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid. The receiver measured ⅞" in diameter by ⅝" thick (2.2 x 1.5 cm) excluding the stock ear tip.

 

 

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Rear view of the receiver of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid. On the top half are the words, "F. C. Rein & Son", "Makers" and "London"

 

 

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Side view of the receiver of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid.
 

 

 

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Front view of the leather carrying case the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid came in.

The leather case measured 5 11/16" high x 5 3/16" wide x 2 7/16" deep (14.5 x 13.3 x 6.2 cm) and weighed 5.9 oz. (170 g).

 

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Top view of the beautifully-constructed leather carrying case for the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid. The carrying handle laid flat when you were not using it.

 

 

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Inside view of the leather carrying case of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the interior leather partition that kept the microphone array in position when you were using it in the case. The cut-outs at the back were to let the sound through to the microphones.


 

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Inside view of the leather carrying case of the Rein Oravox (Quad-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the microphone array in place. The battery would fit in the front compartment with the wires.

 

 

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Rear view of the leather carrying case of the Rein Oravox (Double-Microphone) carbon hearing aid showing the microphone array behind the holes cut out to let the sound in.

 You could use this hearing aid with the microphones in the carrying case as shown, or you could take all the contents out and dispense with the case—your choice.

 


 

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