The Astatic Story

The following was excerpted from the 1946 Astatic Catalogue.

AN IDEA  that grew into an Industry

The D-104, Astatic's first Crystal Microphone manufactured in 1933

Away back in 1930, two radio amateurs, C. M. Chorpening, W8WR (now W8MJM), and F. H. Woodworth, W8AHW, both of Youngstown Ohio, began searching for a better microphone for their phone transmitters. Up until this time they had been using various carbon type microphones. The condenser type appealed to them as an answer to their problem. Several units were designed and given trials on the air. Before long, other amateurs among their aquaintance began visiting their shacks, interested in either building or buying this new type of "mike." Chorpening and Woodworth, encouraged by this interest, decided to form a partnership and build these units for their friends. While the condenser unit proved reasonably statisfactory, it had certain limitations which it was hoped could eventually be overcome.

C. M. Chorpening, Vice President     F. H. Woodworth, President


It was about this time that an old aquaintance, Mr. Charles E. Semple of Cleveland, who had been visiting his "ham" friends frequently, invited them to pay him a visit. With a background of phonograh and loud speaker experience, Mr Semple was then occupying bench space in the Brush Laboratories, experimenting with elements made from Rochelle Salts, (Sodium Potassium Tartrate). Through Mr. Semple, the two visitors met A. L. Williams, electrical and mechanical engineer, and Dr. C. B Sawyer, scientist, who demonstrated the action of these new elements in relation to microphones, phonograph pickups, speakers, recording heads, earphones and other devices where it was desired to transform mechanical energy into electrical energy or the reverse. Here, it seemed, they had found the answer to a simple, low-cost, dependable "mike" for the "ham rig."

A group of Astatic officials and employees, in those early days.


By 1933, CHorpening and Woodworth found it advisable to incorporate a manufacturing and sales company and to branch out with a line of Crystal Microphones, Crystal Phonograph Pickups and Recording heads for manufacturers and Radio Jobbers. Mr. Semple was brought into the new organization as designer and later served as general manager until his death in 1939.

Main Plant and Offices of the The Astatic Corporation at Conneaut, Ohio (1946)


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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

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A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

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I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


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