Simple, right? No way. One can easily imagine how flawless your diction must have needed to be in order to get a match. Presumably the accuracy required could possibly have been adjusted with some kind of sensitivity potentiometer (knob or slider) attached to the photocell triggering the "result" switch, but that's just conjecture. Then there's the fact that the machine needed a photo slide of every sound it wanted to understand. Cleverness and clunkiness, 1963 style!
Did it catch on? Well, the P.A.G! Research and Googling Team only found other news articles from 1963 about the new curiosity of the Sceptron. No recently declassified writeups about how the Sceptron was being used to listen in on spies or anything. If the Sceptron found widespread use protecting our shores from invasion from the number five, those historical events must be better kept secrets than Watergate's Deep Throat and Monica Lewinsky's mouth combined.
I will prefer to think that the Sceptron failed to take the world by storm due to the machine's bogus name the creators' promiscuous understanding of how acronyms work. An acronym should be the first letter of every (or nearly every) word in a name. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Light Amplified via Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Industrial Light and Makingshittyprequels.
Here is Sperry's explanation of how acronyms exactly don't work:
WRONG! The acronym for Spectral Comparative Pattern Recognizer is SCPR. So, it's the "Skippertron"! You can't just think up a cool sounding word and cherry pick letters arbitrarily from anywhere in the description of your invention as an excuse to use your cool word!
Using Sperry's sultty acronym theory, here are some names for their invention that are every bit as valid as Sceptron:
Interetsingly, when the demonstrator's haircut was used in place of the tufted quartz fibers to create a photomask and inserted into the Sceptron, the machine only responded to the word "virgin".