2020-09 - Curator's Cabinet - Desktop/Laptop

Pick of the Month  

· 1897  Graphophone Model B manufactured by the American Graphophone Company

· wax cylinder “records” produced by Edison and Columbia companies between 1900 and 1920


Donated by James Regan of New York in 2010

Background Information

The Graphophone, invented in 1897  by Alexander Graham Bell at the Volta Laboratory in Washington, D.C., was an improved version of the phonograph invented in 1877 by Thomas Edison in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Bell introduced the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders to record and play sound. These cylinders were the precursors to vinyl records, cassette tapes, compact discs, and other digital recording formats.

The original cost of the Graphophone was $10.00 and $12.00 with the case cover.  The cover made it portable and able to be carried anywhere. The cost of the cylinders was 35 cents.

In addition to the graphophone, the museum has 28 wax cylinders in its collection.  Several are listed below:

o 1905 Edison Gold Moulded Record recording of “Bewitching Beauty” by the Edison Symphony Orchestra;

o 1918 Edison Special Blue Amber Record recording of “Smiles”  by Harmony Four

o 1908 Columbia Phonograph Company recording of “Cheer up! Cherries Will Soon Be Ripe” by Byron G. Harlin

o 1907 Columbia Phonograph Company recording “She’s the Fairest Little Flower Dear Old Dixie Ever Grew “ by Frank Stanley and Henry Burr.

(Note:  The graphophone should not be confused with the gramophone, a later invention that used flat discs to produce music.)