Memories of the Phonograph

"The best seat in the house. Forever."



The revolution of sound that began with the Phonograph was a social, cultural, and literal (in rpms) revolution. It has also been a continuum. We still have record players and descendent technologies that record and reproduce sound and deliver entertainment to the home or the individual.

Advertising promises have been made by each sound delivering technology that has followed the original phonograph -- the radio, television, high-fidelity, stereophonic, 45 and LP phonograph systems, VHS and Beta video tape systems, reel-to-reel, 8-track and cassette playing systems, laser discs, CEDs, CDs, DVD and Blu-ray systems, computers, iPods and all of the many streaming devices. Formats and media differ but each new product still pursues the phonograph's primary advertising promise; namely, that their device will deliver music and entertainment to you as if it's just for you, and it will be an experience equal to or better than the "best seat in the house." Anytime. Forever.

Your seat awaits you. You only need to choose what, when, and how often you want to 'attend' the performance.

The following are some advertisements that show the phonograph and its descendent devices through the decades, each promising realism and "The Stage of the World" in your home.


"It is reality, nothing less; for "The Stage of the World" presents the artists themselves to you..." Columbia Grafonola, 1916




""The whole enchanted realm of grand opera...comes to life through the magic portals of the Columbia Grafonola," 1917




"Ring Up the Graphophone Curtain in Your Home, and the Whole World of Entertainment Appears!" 1906




Munsey's, Victor Talking Machine Co., 1906




Victor The Fireside Theatre brings to each family exactly the music that it wants; the veritable voice, the actual performance. And all in the comfort and privacy of home.




"At the Christmas Matinee" - The Best Seat in the House - Collier's, December 1908




"Hearing is Believing" Columbia Phonograph Company, 1911




"Just as real, just as enjoyable, in your own home" 1912




Columbia Records on the Columbia Grafonola bring the best music of all lands and all ages into the friendly intimacy of your own home." Ladies' Home Journal 1918




"A Magical Voice of Music," Columbia Grafonola, 1919








"With the Victrola you can have a concert by these same great bands in your home..." 1921




"Grand Opera", Tusca Radio, 1923




RCA Radiola - Full orchestra on a lanterned lawn - 1926



"Lights out...a glow springs up along the stage's rim...The curtains part..." Victor Red Seal Records, 1927




"Almost, you look into the faces of the musicians themselves, so perfect is the illusion..." 1928 - Edmund Wilson artist



"Without stretch of the imagination, they are right in the very room with you." 1928 - Edmund Wilson artist



"You're at a Broadway vaudeville show---in your own home!" 1928 - Edmund Wilson artist



"the utmost possible fidelity and realism..." .RCA Radiola, December 1929



Magnavox - Radio-Phonograph 1945 "true-to-life tone"

"Close your eyes and enjoy the illusion that singers and orchestra are in the very room with you."




New Worlds of listening pleasure for you, RCA 1947




Du Mont, with Television, the world is your stage, 1949







1949 - The magic of radio and television bring America's Grandest Entertainment. "Enjoy FM and AM radio--and records--in natural color tone."



1950 Zenith - Watching ballet in the afternoon "with startling new life-like clarity and detail..."




Carnegie Hall - Magavox Stereophonic High-Fidelity -- "recorded music suddenly comes alive...creating an exciting illusion of "living presence...with amazing realism." 1958





Magavox Stereo Theatre in your home, 1962





"Full, live sound..." Wollensak Stereo Tape Recorder 1963



RCA Victor Stereo - realism that rivals the concert hall, Time, 1967




"RCA Victor Stereo...realism that rivals the concert hall," 1965



"RCA Victor Stereo...realism that rivals the concert hall," 1965



"RCA Victor Stereo...realism that rivals the concert hall," 1966




"RCA - realism that rivals the concert hall" 1967




Realism that rivals the concert hall - closer to the music, RCA 1968




"Unparalleled in sight and sound," Magnavox 1979



1984 Stereo Broadcasts of San Francisco Opera -- "The effect is amazingly realistic."



"...hear something you've never heard before: perfection." "you listen to your favorite artists as though you, and your armchair, were centered in the spotlight above." Courtesy Sony 1983





Dell, Presidents Day Sale, February 2017



The Phonograph

A revolution of sound that created the"The best seat in the house. Forever"



Friends of the Phonograph by Doug Boilesen and Phonographia ©