Western Electric Type 387 Carbon Microphone

Western Electric 1A Housing-Front View Western Electric 1A Housing-Side View
This is a Western Electric model 387 double button carbon microphone element mounted in a type 1A housing.  It is one of the most recognized microphones of the early days of broadcasting, and can be seen in some of the photographs presented on this site.  The housing is 8 inches high, and 6 inches in diameter.  The 387 element is 3 1/2 inches in diameter, and just under 2 inches deep.  It is heavy for it's size (about 2 1/2 lbs.) and primarily made of nickel-plated cast iron.

Located inside the base are three low-pass filters (one for each of the three wires needed to connect the microphone to the amplifier).  These were probably needed to prevent interference from the high RF radiation levels that were present when the mike was located close to the transmitter.  They typically did not use shielded wire for this application.  

When I acquired this microphone, the original base was missing.  I recently found an incomplete housing that provided a base, but its previous owner had "polished" it with steel wool destroying the original finish and patina.  I suppose that's still better than throwing it in the trash, though.

Western Electric 1A Housing-Rear View (Cover Removed)



Quite often, the bases were removed to allow mounting the housing on floor stands, or even suspending them from above.  The alternative was the rather ungainly pedestal stand arrangement shown below.

WE 1A Housing on Pedestal Stand

Western Electric Type 387 Element-Front View