TMC Breast Microphone

This is what Colin MacKinnon from Australia wrote to me on July 2001:
"The microphone that you show as TMC is a WW2 breast mike used by the
military, specially navy, for communications. You sometimes see it in old
navy movies. It should have straps which go around your neck to support it
on your chest. Big heavy old thing."

"The next pictures are photos of my TMC microphone unit. It was hard to
photograph a black object and I had too many shadows. I hope you can make
sense of them.

It has a cardboard tag tied round the connecting lead that states:

     On Her Majesty's Service

     Sept. 1970.



The date of 1970 is when it was counted, not necessarily when it was made.
They were used at the end of WW2 (maybe earlier) and just by co-incidence,
yesterday I saw a movie on TV of the Korean war. If the pictures were really
from that war, then they used the set there too for communicating from the
radar control room to the aircraft.

The complete set consists of the microphone that you have and a set of
headphones. The headphone receivers are quite heavy with cast metal
housings, similar to the microphone casting.

The microphone should have a white nylon cord of 4 to 5mm diameter (just
small enough to go through the holes in the metal plate.) The cord has a
knot tied at each end.

In operation the cord went round your neck so that the mike plate sat on
your chest. You could then adjust the microphone position and lock it in

The nuts and threads on mine have safety pins made from wire with very sharp
ends, not a very bright way of making them. They should be filed smooth so
you don't scratch yourself.

The black, cotton covered connecting cord has two wires, blue and white,
with screw terminals on the ends. It would have had a standard ring plug on
the end.

On the back of the microphone switch housing there are 4 holes. The left
hole is not used, the connecting cord goes into the next hole, then the
microphone lead and lastly on the right, the lead to the headphones.

The black paint is flaking a little on the headband.

TMC could be Telephone Manufacturing Company.

The switch on the base plate has AP 12501. That is Air Publication 12501
which indicates that it was originally made for the English RAF. However I
have seen it in USA movies and of course down here in Australia.

I purchased my sample about 1 month ago(june 2001) from a surplus dealer who has a
large box full of them! I think price was A$15.00. I don't know what that
would be in Guilders.

I hope this helps the identification of your microphone. If you need any
more info. please just ask."