Antique phonographs were the first musical devices capable of reproducing sounds, previously recorded on wax cylinders. Their mechanism is very simple, but at the same time very resistant. Thanks to this feature, today there are phonographs more than 100 years old that are able to reproduce melodies recorded on vintage cylinders. The antique pho...
Antique phonographs were the first musical devices capable of reproducing sounds, previously recorded on wax cylinders. Their mechanism is very simple, but at the same time very resistant. Thanks to this feature, today there are phonographs more than 100 years old that are able to reproduce melodies recorded on vintage cylinders. The antique phonographs in our collection have been manufactured by the best brands of all times, including emblematic firms such as Edison or Columbia. These devices were manufactured from 1890 until 1920, when they were definitively replaced by gramophones.
The first phonograph in history was designed and built by Thomas A. Edison in 1877. It was undoubtedly one of the most important inventions of the 19th century: for the first time in history it was possible to record and reproduce sounds, from the human voice to the most complex musical performances. Initially, the first devices were not used to reproduce music, but to facilitate dictation work in offices. The first cylinders were made of metal, and the needle recorded the sounds directly on the foil; however, Alexander Graham Bell's laboratory developed more practical, cheaper and lighter wax-coated cardboard cylinders, which definitively replaced the metal ones. In 1888 the first gramophone was launched, and for 30 years both inventions coexisted and fought for the record market of the time. In the 1920s, gramophones definitively displaced the old phonographs; however, for a while the Edison firm continued to market a version called "dictaphone". This device was used in offices to record dictated texts. The cylinders could be re-recorded several times.
These devices consist of several basic parts and a mechanically operated motor. The wooden box hides the motor inside, while in its upper part is the mechanism where the cylinder is placed. The horn is connected to the reproducer to amplify the sound. In old phonographs, the trumpet was usually removed in order to close the device with a wooden cover. The cover had a handle for carrying. As for the cylinders, those made of cardboard and wax usually offered a duration of 2 minutes; later they were replaced by celluloid cylinders with a duration of 4 minutes.
One of the most fascinating features of early phonographs is that the cylinders are always direct recordings of the original. These elements could not be reproduced mechanically, so they are all unique pieces.
The first brand to manufacture and market phonographs was Thomas A. Edison. His models were imprinted with the name Edison Home Phonograph. However, it soon had an important competitor: the Columbia Phonograph Company. The French firm Pathé Frèrés, known for being one of the pioneers in the film industry (in the early twentieth century became the most important film producer in the world), also devoted a branch of its business to manufacture and market phonographs.
Antique phonographs are items full of history, ingenious design and great decorative potential. When we listen to music recorded on a cylinder in one of these devices, we are listening to an original vintage recording, unique and inimitable. For these reasons, they deserve a place of honor in any living room or collection.
Very antique Columbia Eagle phonograph made in the USA for the French market. Good sound quality. Very antique Columbia Eagle...Sold
Fascinating Mae Starr phonograph doll made by Madame Hendren. Original and in working order. Fascinating Mae Starr phonograph doll...Sold