A VERY odd Vintage "Tape" recorder?? has anyone seen anything like this??

While cruising eBay the other day. I can across this very very odd machine. It appears at first glance to me some sort of tape recorder. I Love reel to reel recorders. I have owned hundreds of reel to reel machines since my teens and i have seen photos of pretty much every other machine ever made. but I have NEVER seen anything like this. I had to buy it and i can't wait for it to arrive so I can learn more.
Studying the photos i can see. Volume, Tone and a Mode switch with Erase/record/play. on the back there is a microphone input and it has an internal speaker. maybe a dictaphone? but there is no stop start switch.
there are 2 levers on top. and the "head" tower in the middle i THINK has a head that moves up and down vertically. maybe one of the levers is a track lever that moves the head up and down? and maybe the other one is rewind?? I am totally guessing. the machine will be here next week and the mysterys will be solved. but. there are no brand markings i can see in any of the photos. so i am curious if anyone has ever seen anything like this???


Zc
 

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IBM made a dictaphone that used a magnetic belt. and dictaphone made the dictabelt which was like a record with grooves on a flexible belt. and I have seen magnetic records. but this is a new one. It might have a stylus like a record player for all i know and the paper was someones idea for a replacement or something. maybe it is supposed to have a plastic tape on it? no idea.
 
Never seen anything like it. But I did recently stumble upon this techmoan video

It's about a recording device that uses paper that is covered with a layer of magnetic tape emulsion. Could be the same principle is used for the tape in this machine.

Keep us updated!
 
On one of the photos's it looks like there is a mirror on the head thingie. And I see a big resistor at the base of the head. So I assume it is some optical readout system. And heating is required. So that leads to the conclusion this is a top secret device to read hidden messages that have been written using invisible ink (aka lemon juice) on paper tape. U S army surplus?
 
the paper tape on it is what is throwing me off!

It may be interesting to note that, in 1928, German cigarette paper manufacturer Fritz Pfleumer had the idea to coat very thin paper with iron oxide using lacquer as glue.

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The German manufacturer AEG bought the patent from Pfleumer and went on to develop the magnetophon tape recorder. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_Pfleumer
 
Could be a cinema projector accessory to generate sound from the edge of the film?
Cinema reels had that, the details should be on the net.
That means it was passing film as it went from reel to reel , so it was next to the light source, or at least in film path.

In any case, a curiosity item, the media is not available for the most part.