Westrex 2B Stylus Adapter

The Westrex 2B is a motional feedback cutter head, introduced in 1952 by the Western Electric Export Company. It followed hot on the heels of the Westrex 2A, dating from 1947, which was itself a lateral implementation of the principles first described by Wiebusch, Vieth and Yenzer in 1938, with a couple of relevant patents issued by 1939, for a vertical cutter head employing motional feedback.

Unlike the Westrex 3D of the stereophonic era, the 2B was designed to accept a taper-shank stylus. This was different in geometry and dimensions to the taper shank stylii used by manufacturers such as Neumann and Ortofon. While the taper shank stylii used by Neumann in their SX68 and SX74 cutter heads is one of the most popular stylus shanks, still available today, no other taper shank types are on offer from the usual sources of recording stylii.

When a Westrex 2B owner inquired about the availability of stylii, we responded with our usual “can do” attitude!

We took extensive measurements, read through ancient documents, books and research papers, made custom tooling and machined a batch of adapters to fit the Westrex 2B, accepting the widely available Neumann taper shank!

Machining several such minuscule parts to extremely tight tolerances is not exactly a straightforward task! It takes strong nerves, experience, special high precision machine tools, and very close control of all process parameters, including the temperature and stratification of the machine shop.

A few years ago, J. I. Agnew restored and modified a rare 1930’s Lorch optical lathe, which came from the Leitz microscope factory in Germany. It was used for machining the complex features of the microscope lens assemblies. As with many Lorch lathes, it was a custom one-off machine, purpose-built for such work. This machine and its restoration is worthy of a separate article, to be written in due course. Among the many modifications was the addition of a special microscope, another restoration project in itself!
With this setup, several identical adapters could be machined to the required degree of accuracy.

This initial batch was designed to be used with Adamant NSH-2 or Transco 320 (RIP) stylii, but future plans may include a dedicated 2B stylus instead of an adapter.

If you need a special oddball stylus shank to fit an unusual cutter head, or any other microscopic parts requiring an intense level of precision, feel free to contact us.