Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum
Hugh Hetherington Hearing Aid Museum

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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.

 

Conversation Tubes

E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D "Otophone" Conversation Tube

The Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone was an interesting conversation tube manufactured by E. B. Meyrowitz, Inc. of New York, NY sometime after 1887.

The overall length of this conversation tube is 42 inches, although the tube itself is just 30¾" long. Unlike many of the other conversation tubes, this tube was not tapered, but remained a constant ¾" in diameter throughout it's length. It weighed about 10 oz.

The earphone and bell are made of brown vulcanite (a early kind of hard rubber).

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View of the earphone with its built-in handle. The earphone was 2⅛" in diameter. The length of the handle including earphone was 7¾" in long. The thickest part of the handle was 1".


 

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Close-up of the earphone. One of the things that set the E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone apart from other conversation tubes is that it used a diaphragm ear piece which provided a high frequency boost to the listener.

Unfortunately, the earphone cover that screwed over the top of the diaphragm to protect it is missing.
 

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Rear view of the E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone earpiece showing the manufacturer—E. B. Meyrowitz, Inc, and the model number 2D and below it the number 241.

 

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Rear view of the E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone earpiece showing the date the patent for this conversation tube was issued, namely May 3, 1887.

 

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Close-up of the outside of the bell of the E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone. The bell measured 2¾" in diameter and was 3½" long.

Notice the scalloped sides of the bell—a larger cutout on the left and a smaller cutout on the right. These cutouts made this conversation tube unique.
 

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Close-up of the inside of the bell of  the E. B. Meyrowitz Model 2D Otophone showing the cutouts (top and bottom).

These cutouts let this bell fit tightly around the mouth. The top cutout fitted just below the speaker's nose so he could breathe and the bottom cutout fit tightly just below the bottom lip.

With the bell held tightly around the mouth of the person speaking, all the sound was sent down the conversation tube to the listener's ear. This gave better amplification for those with severe hearing losses.

Another use for this unique arrangement was for courting couples back in the days when they had to do their courting in front of their families in the parlor. With the bell held tightly around the mouth, the person speaking could talk in such a soft voice that no one else could hear what was being said except the beau listening to the earphone.

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