The Phonetics Laboratory was developed during the period of 1969-1974 with the NSF USDP (University Science Development Program) funds. Dr. Peter F. MacNeilage was appointed during that time as Associate Professor of Linguistics and Psychology and Director of Laboratory. He was joined in 1970 by Dr. Harvey Sussman who was appointed as Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Speech and who became Associate Director of the Lab. Dr. Bjorn Lindblom joined the Department and the Lab in 1987. Björn Lindblom is now an emeritus professor.
The lab was intended to be a general facility for both research and teaching in experimental phonetics. The research focus at the time was on physiology and neurophysiology of speech production. The lab hosted a PDP (Programmed Data Processor) computer for controlling, editing and displaying (1) EMG data; (2) audio; (3) movement data via strain gage transducers. Classic coarticulation studies, pursuit tracking studies, and single motor unit EMG studies were conducted.