Sound level meter, manufactured by General Radio, United States of America in 1930s.

This meter is similar to the one used by architect and acoustician Hugh Vivian Taylor. Its operation is described in the Booklet entitled 'The Technique of Noise Measurement' (HT 23767).

Hugh Vivian Taylor started practice as an architect in Victoria, Australia during 1923 and in acoustics in 1928. The arrival of "talking pictures" in Australia in 1929 required acceptable acoustic conditions to ensure satisfactory reproduction of the sound. From 1930 to 1941 he acted as consultant for at least 434 theatres and public halls.

Acoustic equipment is used to measure the intensity of sound within an environment, for example outdoors or within a building.

The equipment consists of a microphone and sound level meter to pick up the sound, an analyser to determine the properties of the sound, for example, frequency and intensity, and an output meter to measure these properties. In some cases, sounds are produced using test records, for example in a building,

The key instrument is the sound level meter with its microphone. All the other instruments take their input from the sound level meter. These instruments include sound and vibration analysers and tape recorders.

Unfortunately, acoustic equipment, used H Vivian Taylor and donated by the Australian Acoustical Society, lacked the sound level meter with microphone which H V Taylor must have used as the input. The Australian Acoustical Society donated a model considered to be the same as the one used by Taylor.

A recent Fellow of the Society, Louis Fouvy, an electrical engineer formerly employed by the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board in their Testing Laboratories became involved with the discussions about the equipment. By chance, he had a GR Type 759 Sound Level Meter of the same vintage as the HVT equipment and of the type almost certainly used by him. There is an interesting story associated with this instrument. Back in 1960, a Society member, Gerald Riley, spotted this instrument in a disposal store, after it had been made redundant by the Tramways Board in favour of a more modern instrument. After purchasing it, Gerald eventually handed it over to his friend Louis, realising that Louis would have been involved with the instrument at the Tramways Laboratory. They originally intended to place the instrument in the AAS archive, however, they have now graciously donated it to the Melbourne Museum, to effectively complete the set of instruments.

Physical Description

Timber case with lid with black leather style covering, with chrome catches. Lid can be removed to reveal panel with controls.


The arrival of 'talking pictures' in Australia in 1929 required theatres to have appropriate acoustic characteristics. From 1930 to 1941, H. Vivian Taylor was the architectural and acoustical consultant for at least 434 theatres and public halls.

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