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The Maico Company Inc.

MAICO, formerly known as The Maico Company Inc., is an American-German developer and manufacturer of hearing instruments, commonly known as hearing aids, founded in 1937 in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) by Leland A. Watson, a former sales clerk who realised that the existing diagnostics equipment that was sold to doctors at the time, was too complicated [1]. The name MAICO was derived from the initials of the words Medical Acoustic Instrument Company.

MAICO was among the first companies who produced hearing aid equipment at large scale, initially buit with subminiature vaccuum tubes (valves) [2]. When transistors became available in 1952, MAICO was one of the first to make the transistion, with the introduction of the Maico Model O in 1953, soon followed by improved – smaller – models, such as the Model R in 1954.

It is little known, that the production of miniature audio amplifiers, also attracted the attention of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and probably other agencies as well, as the new devices could also be used in the field of eavesdropping and covert listening devices (bugs). Between 1953 and 1957, Maico hearing aids were known within the CIA as 'the standard Maico probe' [3].

MAICO devices on this website
Maico Model R hearing aid, converted for CIA use
  1. MAICO company website, About us
    Retrieved September 2020.

  2. Hearing Aid Museum, Maico Model R Transistor (Body) Hearing Aid
    Retrieved September 2020.

  3. CIA, Current Status of the Testing & Evaluation Program
    Memorandum for Chief, TSS/ED, 9 July 1957. Page 3.
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 20 September 2020. Last changed: Thursday, 01 October 2020 - 16:25 CET.
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