Finding Aid to the Robert Weitbrecht papers, 1931-1982

Lara Michels
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 2012
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to the Robert Weitbrecht papers, 1931-1982

Collection number: BANC MSS 85/67 c

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Finding Aid Author(s):
Lara Michels
Date Completed:
Finding Aid Encoded By:
© 2012 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Robert Weitbrecht papers
Date (inclusive): 1931-1982
Collection Number: BANC MSS 85/67 c
Creator: Weitbrecht, Robert H.
Extent: 8 cartons, 2 boxes (10.8 linear feet)
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The papers of Robert H. Weitbrecht, a physicist and electronic design engineer best known for his invention of TTY, also known as the teletypewriter, TDD, or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert Weitbrecht papers, BANC MSS 85/67 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Alternate Forms Available

There are no alternate forms of this collection.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Weitbrecht, Robert, 1920-1983--Archives
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
Applied Communications Corporation.
Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
Lick Observatory.
R.H. Weitbrecht Company
Stanford Research Institute
United States--Naval Air Missle Test Center, Point Mugu, California.
Weitbrecht Communications
Yerkes Observatory
Amateur radio stations--United States
Assistive listening systems--United States
Hearing impaired--History--Sources
Radioteletype--United States
Self-help devices for people with disabilities--Research--United States
Telecommunications devices for the deaf--United States

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Robert Weitbrecht papers were given to the Bancroft Library by Mr. Norman Davis in 1985. Additions were made in 1986.


No additions are expected.

Processing Information

Processed by Lara Michels in 2012.

Biography/Organization History

Robert H. Weitbrecht was a physicist and electronic design engineer best known for his invention of TTY, also known as the teletypewriter, TDD, or Telecommunication Device for the Deaf. Weitbrecht, born deaf in 1920, became interested in amateur radio as a young man, eventually constructing his own ham radio set at the age of 13. The set allowed him to decipher Morse code messages received by means of amplified ear phones that produced vibrations that enabled him to distinguish the codes. By college, Weitbrecht had become licensed as a ham radio operator by the Federal Communications Commission. He was thought to be the only deaf amateur radio operator in the world in the late 1930s. Weitbrecht attended Santa Ana Junior College from 1938 to 1940 and then enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley. He received his bachelor's degree in Astronomy in 1942. During World War II, Weitbrecht worked at UC Berkeley on Cyclotron Hill at the Radiation Laboratory. After the war, he moved to the U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, California, where he spent four years developing electronic timing systems for the missle range instrumentation. It was during these years that Weitbrecht became acquainted with the Teletype Model 15. In 1950, Weitbrecht obtained his own radio teletypewriter and began experimenting with the machine in his amateur radio pursuits. In 1951, Weitbrecht moved to Wisconsin to work at Yerkes Observatory and, in his spare time, continued to develop electronic equipment for radio teletypewriter communication. While in Wisconsin, Weitbrecht obtained a master's degree from the University of Chicago in Astronomy. In 1957, he moved to Stanford University, where he worked as a physicist at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park. He remained with SRI for eleven years. It was during this time that Weitbrecht designed and built cameras and electronic equipment for the Lick Observatory. In 1964, he met some members of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and, with their encouragement, started determining how to adapt the teletypwriter into an assistive-listening device for the deaf community by figuring out how to make it work on a regular telephone line. In 1964, he developed the acoustic coupler that allowed the teletypewriter to be used with a telephone. This coupler eventually became known as the Weitbrecht’s Modem. Weitbrecht's companies specializing in the distribution of TTYs and other assistive listening devices included the R.H. Weitbrecht Company, Applied Communications Corporation, and Weitbrecht Communications.

Scope and Content Note

Collection consists of 5 series: Business and Professional Correspondence, Subject Files, Personal Papers and Correspondence, Publications and Manuals, and Patent Files. The business and professional correspondence is mostly Weitbrecht's work-related correspondence dating from the founding of his company, the R.H. Weitbrecht Company, in the middle of the 1960s to circa 1982. The subject files date from 1953 to 1982 and include files on topics relating to Weitbrecht's research and his personal interests. The personal papers and correspondence consist of a small amount of personal correspondence as well as an autobiographical sketch, some writings, drawings, and school work. The publications and manuals include technical manuals and bulletins. The patent files consist of files of patent documents and correspondence relating to Weitbrecht's inventions.

Container Listing


Series 1: Business and Professional Correspondence, 1964-1983

Physical Description: Cartons 1-3, Carton 4, Folder 1-23
carton 1, folder 1-27

APCOM correspondence files, 1964-1968

carton 2, folder 1-25

APCOM correspondence files, 1968-1971

carton 3, folder 1-24

APCOM correspondence files, 1971-1974

carton 4, folder 1-23

APCOM correspondence files, 1973-1983


Series 2: Subject Files, 1953-1982

Physical Description: Carton 4, Folders 24-28; Cartons 5-6; Carton 7, Folders 1-21
carton 4, folder 24

APCOM: letters relating to patent problems, 1964-1967

carton 4, folder 25-28

APCOM: Lawlor patent work, 1965-1966

carton 5, folder 1-2

APCOM: London correspondence 1975

carton 5, folder 3

APCOM: Correspondence re: teletypewriters, procurement, maintenence, 1968-1969

carton 5, folder 4

APCOM: Modem standards, Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Inc., 1973

carton 5, folder 5

APCOM: The Ivy Modem, 1971

carton 5, folder 6

APCOM: Phonetype 10 and 11, 1975-1979

carton 5, folder 7-10

APCOM: Electronic TTYs, lab notes, 1973-1976

carton 5, folder 11-12

APCOM: Electronic TTYs, lab notes, vol. 2, 1976-1979

carton 5, folder 13

APCOM: Experiment reports, measurements, etc, 1964-1972

carton 5, folder 14

APCOM: Phonetic checks, 1968

carton 5, folder 15-16

APCOM: Office files, 1977-1978

carton 5, folder 17

Amateur radio, 1951-1964

carton 5, folder 18

ASCII, Baudot Converter 1982

carton 5, folder 19

Aviation matters, 1966-1968

carton 5, folder 21

Carrier Current Signaling System, 1966

carton 5, folder 21-24

Communications re: laboratory projects involving R.H. Weitbrecht, 1964-1969

carton 5, folder 25-26

Consultations with John Crandall and R.H. Weitbrecht, 1974

carton 5, folder 27-28

Correspondence: AGBAD and ODAS, 1966-1967

carton 5, folder 29-30

Correspondence with Kujawa/Townsend/Herron, 1974-1976

carton 5, folder 31

Correspondence: Specialized Systems, Inc., 1974-1980

carton 5, folder 32

Crystal Control for Drake 2-B Receiver, 1980

carton 5, folder 33-34

Data Access Arrangement and Acoustal Coupling, 1968-1978

carton 6, folder 1

Data Access Arrangement and Acoustal Coupling, 1968-1978

carton 6, folder 2-3

Design using UARTS and FIFOs, 1976

carton 6, folder 4

Dipole, 1966

carton 6, folder 5

Drake 2-B Communications Receiver, 1976-1980

carton 6, folder 6-9

ESSCO infringements, 1970-1971

carton 6, folder 10-12

FCC rules, 1976

carton 6, folder 13

Flywheel Integrating Regenerative Repeater, 1959

carton 6, folder 14

Garbled communications on the Teletypewriter, 1970

carton 6, folder 15-18

Ham radio projects, 1974-1979

carton 6, folder 19

Landline telephone circuits, 1964

carton 6, folder 20

Final report: The Like Astronomic Camera, 1962

carton 6, folder 21

Mark IV and VI Integrators, 1956

carton 6, folder 22-23

Mark IV and VI Integrators, 1958-1962

carton 6, folder 24

Mark Six-B Amplifier, 1957

carton 6, folder 25

Patent papers,

carton 6, folder 26-30

Phonotype II, 1971-1976

carton 7, folder 1-6

Phonotype II (cont.) 1971-1976

carton 7, folder 7

Photo-electric guider, 1953-1957

carton 7, folder 8

Scientific calculators, 1975

carton 7, folder 9

Society of Wireless Pioneers, 1982

carton 7, folder 10-11

Solar energy studies,

carton 7, folder 12

Technical bulletins, R.H. Weitbrecht Company, 1966-1967

carton 7, folder 13

TEIE phone line remote control system, 1964

carton 7, folder 14-15

TEI-COM 1977

carton 7, folder 16

The Telegraph System, 1966

carton 7, folder 17

Teleprinter conversations at R.H. Weitbrecht's office and home, 1967

carton 7, folder 18

Telescope making class notes (Foothill College) 1967

carton 7, folder 19

Things to do with astronomy, instruments, and clocks, 1975

carton 7, folder 20

W6NRM Mark Six System, 1978


Series 3: Personal Papers and Correspondence, circa 1950-1980

Physical Description: Carton 7, Folders 21-30; Carton 8, Folders 1-2
carton 7, folder 21

Autobiographical sketch, undated

carton 7, folder 22-26

Personal and academic correspondence, 1975-1980

carton 7, folder 27-28

Private file, 1871-1975

carton 7, folder 29

Writings and commentaries, 1958-1974

carton 7, folder 30-31

School assignments, circa 1938-1945

carton 8, folder 1-2

Assorted technical drawings and communications, circa 1960-1972


Series 4: Publications and Manuals, 1931-1978

Physical Description: Carton 8, Folders 3-24
carton 8, folder 3-11

Teletype Bulletin (scattered) 1931-1967

carton 8, folder 12-13

Assorted flyers and publications, 1960-1978

carton 8, folder 14

Palo Alto Tiny Basic, 1976

carton 8, folder 15

Heathkit Assembly Manual, 1962

carton 8, folder 16-19

Manuals, assorted, 1955-1970

carton 8, folder 20

Principals of Telegraphy (US Dept. of the Navy), 1967

carton 8, folder 21

Handbook of Maintenance Instructions for Radio Receivers BC-348-T, N, and Q, 1943

carton 8, folder 22

Teletype Technical Training Center Model 33 Manual, undated

carton 8, folder 23-24

4U1TU Calling (International Amateur Radio Club), 1964-1965


Series 5: Patent Files, 1966-1982

Physical Description: Box 1-2
box 1, folder 1

Correspondence re: patents, 1979

box 1, folder 2-4

Telegraph System, Patent No. 873, 989, 1970-1971

box 1, folder 5-8

Frequency Shift Teletypewriter patents, 1966-1972

box 2, folder 1

Frequency Shift Teletypewriter patents (cont.) 1966-1972

box 2, folder 2-8

R.H.Weitbrecht-ESSCO, Brody, patents, 1969-1982