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

Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" Carbon Hearing Aid

The Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid was manufactured by the Western Electric Company of Kearny, NJ in 1938.

The microphone measured 3" in diameter x ⅞" thick. The total weight of this hearing aid (excluding battery) was a modest 5½ oz.

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Back

 

View of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the battery in its soft leather carrying case with the carbon amplifier plugged into it, and the microphone (bottom) and receiver and ear mold (right).

 

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Front view of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon microphone showing the microphone grill (4 vertical slots) and in the center, the four-pointed volume control.

This volume control was unique in that it was dead center in the front of the mic. (Most carbon hearing aids had the volume control on the back or side of the microphone or as a separate unit.)

This microphone contained carbon dust rather than the more common carbon shot used at this time.

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Rear view of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon microphone showing the pocket clip (top center) and the model number (bottom center).

 

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Top view of the plug assembly of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the wires unplugged.

 

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Top view of the plug assembly of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid showing two pins and sockets. Notice that they are of different sizes so you can't plug them in backwards.

 

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Top view of the plug assembly of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. This plug assembly measured 1¾" x 1⅛" x ½" thick (excluding prongs).

 

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Inside view of the plug assembly of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. When plugged in, the tips of the pins were each held between the coils of wire.

 

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Bottom view of the plug assembly of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid showing the 4 pins that plugged into a special battery.

 

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The optional carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. The carbon amplifier measured 1¾" x 1 1/16" x 1 3/16" thick (excluding prongs).

 

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Top view of the optional carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. The on-off switch is at the right. The 4 plug holes are one in each corner.

 

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Right inside view of the optional carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the side panel taken off. The actual carbon amplifier is the large round metal item in the center.

 

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Left inside view of the optional carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the side panel taken off. The actual carbon amplifier is the large round metal item in the center.

 

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Bottom view of the optional carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid showing the model number "1A" and the 4 pins that plugged into a special battery such as the Eveready No. 145.

 

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View of the top of the Eveready No. 145 battery and carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid showing the unique 4-prong plug and jack arrangement that seems to have been specific to this hearing aid.

 

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Top view of the Eveready No. 145 battery with the carbon amplifier of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid plugged into it.

 

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Rear view of the receiver of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. Note the two unusual "heavy" screws holding the receiver together (bottom).

 

 

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Side view of the receiver and ear mold of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. The ear mold just snapped on and of the receiver nubbin.

 

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View of the front of the leather battery case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid.

This battery case was worn on the belt when the microphone was clipped to the front of the shirt. This made for "hands-free" operation.

 

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Front view of the leather battery carrying case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the battery in place and the carbon amplifier plugged into it.

The strap could be shortened to fit the battery plug if the carbon amplifier wasn't being used.

 

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Rear view of the leather battery carrying case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the battery in place and the carbon amplifier plugged into it.

 

 

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View of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid in its soft leather carrying case.

If you didn't want to wear the hearing aid on your shirt front and belt, you could keep it in this soft leather carrying case and simply place it on the table in front of you with the microphone facing away from you. You just had to wear the ear mold/receiver in your ear.

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View of the left end of the soft leather carrying case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid with the hearing aid in it.

Note the cut-out at the bottom left corner.

 

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Close up view of the left end of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid in its soft leather carrying case showing how the switch on the carbon amplifier was readily accessible to turn the hearing aid on or off.

 

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Top view of the soft leather carrying case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid showing how all the components including battery fit into this case.

 

 

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View of the front and right end of the soft leather carrying case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. This is how it looked when you carried it around.

 

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In addition to the soft leather carrying case (shown above), the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid allo came in a hard leatherette-covered dresser-top case.

Note: the upper tray removed to reveal the space below where the cords were stored.

 

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Outside view of the hard case of the Western Electric Model 1-A "Ortho-Technic" carbon hearing aid. The case measured 9" x 4⅝" x 3" high.

To open the catch, you squeeze the "knobs" on each side of the clasp together.

 

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On the top left corner of the outside of the case are the words, "New Western Electric Hearing Aid" and "Ortho Technic Model".

 

 

 

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