These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

Where did that noise come from? It's a question people have been asking for millennia, but in the past century we started to build machines that would help us find out. Here are some of the most insane moments in the history of sound-location technology.

The Topophone, invented by Alfred M. Mayer, 1880


These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look(via Google Patents/US224199)

A junior officer and NCO from an unidentified Feldartillerie regiment wearing a portable sound locating apparatus, c. 1917

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

(via DrakeGoodman)

A two-horn system at Bolling Field, USA, near the Army War College at Fort McNair (in the background), 1921

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

An early Goerz listening equipment with receiving shells

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

Horn-like sound locators of the US Army

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

The Doppelt Richtungshörer, produced by the German Askania

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

A Barbier, Bénard et Turenne device from France

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

A Dutch device, built from 1934 for the Engineers Regiment and the Netherlands Army in the East Indies.

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

Miniaturized listening devices for the improved mobility, concepts from The Netherlands, 1930s

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

Gigantic trumpet-like Japanese electric ears for detecting enemy planes, 1936

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

(via LIFE Magazine / December 28, 1936 / Google Books)

"Big Ears" Listen for Airplanes, 1938

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

(via Popular Mechanics/December 1938/Google Books)

A Japanese detector from the late 1930s

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

The Shout-O-Phone from 1940

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

(via Popular Science / June 1940)

Soviet soldiers are listening to the sky with their ZT-4 locator, 1942

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

(via WarRelics)

A maritime acoustic locator, invented by Jean Auscher in 1960

These Vintage Sound Locators Are Weirder Than They Look

The photos are from the collection of Museum Waalsdorp and The Self Site, except when noted otherwise.