Wilson, Percy

SUBJECT AREA: Broadcasting, Recording
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b. 8 March 1893 Halifax, Yorkshire, England
d. May 1977
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English engineer and technical writer who developed geometries for pick-arms and reproducing horns.
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He graduated from The Queen's College with a BA in 1915 and an MA in 1918. He was an instructor and lecturer in the Royal Navy in 1915–19. He became an administrative officer with the Board of Education until 1938, and continued his work in the British Civil Service in the Ministry of Transport until 1949. From 1924 to 1938 he was Technical Adviser, and from 1953 Technical Editor, with Gramophone, a publication catering for the record-and equipment-buying public. He brought a mathematical mind to the problems of gramophone reproduction and solved the geometrical problem of obtaining a reasonable approximation to tangential tracking across the surface of a record even though the soundbox (or pick-up) is carried by a pivoted arm. Later he tackled the problem of horns, determining that a modified exponential horn, even with a bent axis, would give optimal reproduction by a purely acoustic system. This development was used commercially during the 1930s. Wilson was for a time a member of the School Broadcasting Council and developed methods for improving subjective listening tests for evaluation of audio equipment. He was also deeply involved in the long-playing record system used for Talking Books for the Blind. He had a life-long interest in spiritualist matters and was President of the Spiritualist National Union from 1950 to 1953 and Chairman of the Psychic Press from 1951.
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Bibliography
1929, with G.W.Webb, Modern Gramophones and Electrical Reproducers, London: Cassell (the first book to draw the consequences of the recent development of electronic filter theory for the interpretation of record wear).
Further Reading
G.A.Briggs (ed.), 1961, Audio Biographies, Wharfedale Wireless Works, pp. 326–34.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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