PARTICIPATORY SPORT FOR CRAFT ARTISTS
Thomas A. Edison Standard Phonograph. Last patent Oct 3, 1905. Table top model with original oak cabinet and handled lid. Horn measures 22 inches.
My husband is really great at finding unusual objects, his latest find is an original phonograph by Thomas Edison (like the one in the image above) that someone wanted to get rid off because they are in the process of downsizing their household. They had it for 40 years and never touched it - as a result the piece is in almost mint condition. Lucky find.
We have since brought the phonograph home, together with 96 (!) rolls of music and are in the process of finding out how the piece works, what the back story is on phonographs and gramophones and what we need to do to play the music rolls without damaging them.
I looked up information online and would like to share some of the images I found about these early music players. Fascinating marvels of engineering prowess paired with superb craftsmanship. Fitting neatly in my ongoing series (ok: lament) about objects that are no longer made but really should be. Enjoy.
Edison was trying to improve the telegraph transmitter when he noticed that the movement of the paper tape through the machine produced a noise resembling spoken words when played at a high speed. Experimenting with a stylus on a tinfoil cylinder, Edison spoke into the machine. To Edison's surprise, the cylinder recorded his message, "Mary had a little lamb." People had a hard time believing his discovery at first, but soon doubt turned into awe as Edison became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," after the name of the city in New Jersey where he did his work.