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The object in question is a blank spool of recording tape for a multiplex photographic recording system. Such systems were commonly used not only at Sayville, but at all transatlantic radio receiving stations. The way the systems worked is that a photographically sensitive tape was fed into a galvanometrically modulated exposer and then immediately ...


Here's an excerpt from Kadin2048's answer to this question at ask.metafilter.com, making a reasonable summation if we consider the wire recording (Wiki) techniques that were known at the time: What I think is more likely, is that the tape was just colored in dark and light patches or stripes, and that it was decoded manually. As the tape went through the ...

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