|Product :||Telephone Book||
|Produced from :||1943|
|Designed by :||Lorenz Duus Hansen|
|Finish :||Metal box|
One of the most shining examples of anti-Nazi activities during the Second World War was Lorenz Duus Hansen’s secret activities in Copenhagen. Hansen was head of Bang & Olufsen’s office in Copenhagen and as a result, he quickly became involved with radio contact between the English and Danish resistance movements.
The British, as part of the Allies’ war effort, often parachuted radio broadcasting and receiving equipment into selected regions of continental Europe. However, one of the major obstacles with these transmitters was their size. In use they had to be stationary, and as the Germans’ technology was sufficiently advanced to detect transmissions by the Underground movements the potential of being caught and punished became ever-more great as the war progressed. There was therefore a great need in using smaller, more portable transmitters. Hansen’s technological breakthrough came with his ‘Telephone Book’. No bigger than a phone book, it could broadcast just as well as the bigger, bulkier transmitters from Britain. With the ‘Telephone Book’ the Resistance could move around quicker and with greater confidence of not being caught, often right under the noses of the Nazis, as the device could easily be taken for an ordinary-looking briefcase.
During 1943 the Germans were so up-to-date with radio direction technology that Resistance operators had to send messages to the Allies as quickly as they could, else the chances of being detected and the penalties that this incurred would increase. Often they could only send out a few words at a time by Morse or the risks of being caught by the Germans would have been just too great. The timely transmission of Resistance messages thus became a huge problem for the Danish Movement with the consequences of being caught and executed always on their minds.
One solution to their predicament, allowing messages to be recorded for later playback, came in the form of the world’s first tape recorders, known as wire recorders. It was American machines, that the British had been provided with by U.S. intelligence agencies, which were used by the Danish Resistance Movement. They were manufactured by the Armour Research Foundation in Chicago and could record messages at one speed and replay them at another.
Because technology often improves dramatically when lives are at stake, a new transmitter was installed in Malmo which was able to both send and receive at speeds thus unheard of and at a radio frequency impossible for the Nazis to detect.
However, all was not so easy for Bang & Olufsen in the latter stages of the war. On the night between the 14 and 15 January 1945 the Bang & Olufsen factory was bombed. The Bang family - who lived on-site at the Bang & Olufsen factory site - were saved only as one of the bomb’s igniters failed. Luckily no-one else was injured that fateful night. The factory, however, was not so fortunate and great damage was done, putting back production by years.