Phonographia Endnotes




Phonographia (Main page)

(1) "The Talking Phonograph," Scientific American, December 22, 1877

(2) Listen HERE for a listing of sounds of Earth on Voyager's Golden Record

(3) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

The Voyager's phonograph records used a needle and "grooves" and were not laser discs although images were viewable on the discs. The record used analog technology and the audio was played at 16 2/3 rpm. The overall intent was remarkable - communicate "a story of our world to extraterrestrials."

For more information about this Voyager phonograph record sent to the stars, read Carl Sagan's "Murmurs of Earth" or visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website "What is the Golden Record?"



Friends of the Phonograph Go GREEN

(1) There are on-going debates about the "warmth" of vinyl records and the sound superiority of one format over another, e.g., 180 Gram Vinyl LPs vs. CDs vs. 320k mp3 file. ("Does Vinyl Really Sound Better? July 29, 2013 by Mark Richardson) makes other important considerations about listening to vinyl:

But the other part of it is that the experience of listening to an LP involves a lot more than remastering and sound sources. There's the act of putting a record on, there is the comforting surface noise, there is the fact that LPs are beautiful objects and CDs have always looked like plastic office supplies. So enjoying what an LP has to offer is in no way contingent on convincing yourself that they necessarily sound better than CDs.


Friends of the Phonograph

(1) - Favorite Movies Selected by Friends of the Phonograph is a round-about way to celebrate the connection between the phonograph and talking movies which began when W. K. L. Dickson's Kinetophonograph's syncronized film and recorded sound using an Edison cylinder Phonograph. Watch this circa 1895 experiment courtesy of the Library of Congress and The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound.





Memories of the Phonograph - Quotes

(2) And suddenly the memory returns. The taste was that of the little crumb of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray . . . when I went to say good day to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of real or of lime-flower tea . . .But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, still, alone, more fragile, but with more vitality, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop; of their essence, the vast structure of recollection. - Marcel Proust À la recherche du temps perdu as quoted in "To Have and to Hold - An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting" by Philipp Blom. From Marcel Proust, Du côté de chez Swann, Paris, 1954 pp. 46-7. The translation is quoted in Swann's Way, trans. C.K. Scott Moncrieff, London, 1960 p.41.


(3) A Memory is only a Prince Charming...

De Certeau, Michel. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press. [Google Scholar], p.184






About this Site

(1) How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History On Technology By JENNA WORTHAM JUNE 21, 2016 The New York Times Magazine

Last year, two scientists presented a theory in quantum mechanics that they called “entangled histories.” They argue that the existence of a particle in space is fractured along many alternate timelines, all of which must be considered to understand the full chronology of its life cycle. It is baffling and exhilarating in the way only quantum physics can be, but one idea stood out as particularly resonant. Jordan Cotler, an author of the paper and a graduate student at Stanford University, has said, “Our best description of the past is not a fixed chronology but multiple chronologies that are intertwined with each other.” We’ve long known that this is how human history works — an unimaginable number of small stories, compressed into one big one. But maybe now we finally have the ability to record and capture them all, and history can become something else entirely: not a handful of voices, but a cacophony.
Using the internet and archives of social media will be a way to "generate a more prismatic recollection of history."


Collecting and Phonographia

(2) p. 137. "To Have and to Hold - An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting" by Philipp Blom, The Overland Press 2003

Note: See Chapter "Three Flying Ducks" for a history of kitch and the premise that "collected objects have a value for the individual collector that only other collectors can understand."P. 166, "To Have and to Hold - An Intimate History of Collectors and Collecting" by Philipp Blom, The Overland Press 2003


Researchers know that of the two primary forms of accessing memory, recognition and recall, the former is a simpler and more reliable process. It is the association of a physical object with something previously encountered or experienced. This could be because tangible memories utilize all five senses, evoking emotional triggers and transporting us back to a precise time, place or moment.

Excerpt from The New York Times article "Does Anyone Collect Old Emails?" by Peter Funt, April 5, 2019



(3) Excerpt from The New Yorker "Was this man a genius?" by Julie Hecht, November 22, 1999

One night in 1975, I was tying up the garbage when my husband called me to come and see something he was watching on TV. “You have to see this!” he called. I couldn’t believe there was anything on television that I had to see, but he sounded as if he had found something exciting and wonderful.
There was a tall, dark, and almost handsome man, dressed in a black turtleneck sweater, with a button-down shirt and a checked sports jacket over it. He was standing on a stage, with a small record-player next to him, and when he put the needle on, it played the Mighty Mouse theme song. The man appeared to have no idea what he was doing until the singing began. Then he knew just what he was doing, and suddenly he turned into a baritone star from a nineteen-fifties musical as he started to lip-synch the words. It wasn’t funny the way other things are funny. It just made you laugh.
The mysterious man was Andy Kaufman, on “Saturday Night Live.”

Note: This appearance by Andy Kaufman was on the premiere episode of Saturday Night Life, originally titled NBC Saturday Night, October 11, 1975


(3A) Excerpt from The New York Times article "Does Anyone Collect Old Emails?" by Peter Funt, April 5, 2019

Researchers know that of the two primary forms of accessing memory, recognition and recall, the former is a simpler and more reliable process. It is the association of a physical object with something previously encountered or experienced. This could be because tangible memories utilize all five senses, evoking emotional triggers and transporting us back to a precise time, place or moment.




(4) A.C. Grayling, Financial Times, comments on back cover titled Praise for "To Have and to Hold"



(5) As an object, single or multiplied, it serves the basic function that collecting — call it hoarding, call it installation art — does. It lets us keep the illusion that we can forever embrace, and be embraced by, what is forever fading away. Excerpt from the New York TImes Art Review "The Keeper’ Reveals the Passion for Collecting"





(6) The work done by scholars and institutions continues to rapidly expand onto the internet. As an example, go to the Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR) or the Library of Congress National Jukebox Project and you will understand how many historical sound recordings are now available along with associated reference material.



(7) "Interesting" - The word interesting originally meant "of concern"; it was a synonym of important. It comes from the verb interest, which in its original use meant "to induce or persuade to participate or engage." If you were interested in something, you were not willing to be a bystander; you felt the need to participate or engage. Merriam-Webster

Arousing curiosity or interest; holding or catching the attention. synonyms: absorbing, engrossing, fascinating, riveting, gripping, compelling, compulsive, spellbinding, captivating, engaging, enthralling, entrancing, beguiling

A few years ago one of the Cambridge colleges had a very conservative Master. He regarded the newfangled Cambridge Ph.D. degree as a vulgar concession to transatlantic academic pilgrims, and the publishing of papers as one of the more degrading forms of self-advertisement. "In my time," he used to say, "it was of the essence of a gentleman that his name should never appear in print." It so happened that the College had just elected into a Fellowship a young man who not only had a few papers to his name but also the temerity to propose, at the first Fellow' meeting in which he took part, a number of measures concerning College policy. The Master listened frowningly, and when the novice had finished, he said: "Interesting, interesting" -- and "interesting" meant that he was both alarmed and bored, two states of mind that he was expert at blending--"interesting; but it would seem to me that your suggestions are a little contradictory to the tradition of the College." "Not at all, Master," replied the aspiring reformer, "I have studied the history of the College and I can assure you that my proposals are perfectly in keeping with the ways of the College over the last three hundred years." "This may well be," said the Master, "but wouldn't you agree that the last three hundred years have been, to say the least of them, rather exceptional?" -- The Artist's Journey into the Interior and other essays by Erich Heller, Vintage books, 1968, p.3



(8) "Just as we should cultivate more gentle and peaceful relations with our fellow human beings, we should also extend that same kind of attitude towards the natural environment. Morally speaking, we should be concerned for our whole environment."
"This, however, is not just a question of morality or ethics, but also a question of our own survival. For this generation and for future generations, the environment is very important. If we exploit the environment in extreme ways, we may receive some benefit today, but in the long run, we will suffer, as will our future generations. When the environment changes, the climatic condition also changes. When the climate changes dramatically, the economy and many other things change. Our physical health will be greatly affected. Again, conservation is not merely a question of morality, but a question of our own survival."

-- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from 'The Dalai Lama, A Policy of Kindness', published by Snow Lion Publications.









On This Day Calendar


(1) What day it is? Motorola TV ad and a quote from the 1937 movie A Damel in Distress, starring Gracie Allen and George Burns and Gracie's response that she doesn't know the what day it is if she only has yesterday's paper.








On This Day October 21, 1915


(2) October 21, 1915 - Ackley, Laura, author of SAN FRANCISCO’S JEWEL CITY: THE PANAMA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION OF 1915, extracted from PPIE On this Day entry for October 21, August 9, 2019.


(3) It was a most happy thought of Chief Engineer Hutchinson, of the Edison Laboratories, that came to him "to utilize the transcontinental telephone, so recently perfected, to carry the music of the Edison Diamond Disc Phonograph from ocean to ocean, while Mr. Edison was three thousand miles and more away, at the Pacific end of the wire" and to do this on "Edison Day," October 21st.

On the 21st with Edison on one end of the telephone and the other end connected with the Orange, New Jersey laboratory group that began playing Case's record "word was sent back by telegraph during its playing: "Mr. Edison is hearing it perfectly." "Then Mr. Edison put the same selection on his Diamond Disc at San Francisco, in order that guests at the Laboratory might hear as he had heard. The tones were sweet and clear and perfectly audible, without any strain to hear them; the high notes and trills being exactly as clear as if heard over a short distance 'phone, although not quite so loud." - The Edison Phonograph Monthly, November, 1915 pp. 9-10


(4)" The first Tone Test on the Pacific coast was given at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in October 1915 by Christine Miller..." Frow, George L., The Edison Disc Phonographs and the Diamond Discs" p.237

Frow also notes that "Live-versus recorded demonstrations -- called Recitals -- took place in 1913 some time after the official unveiling of the Edison Disc Phonographs, but details are elusive." - Frow, George L., The Edison Disc Phonographs and the Diamond Discs" p.236


(5) "The first tone-test was given at the Panama-Pacific exposition on October 21, Edison Day, as it was called..." The Boston Sunday Herald, Boston, November 21, 1915.

A footnote in The Edison Phonograph Monthly November, 1915, p. 10 noted the following: Oct. 23.--"Tone-Test Recital at San Francisco at SCOTTISH RITE HALL, very successful -- Attendance 944. Most appreiative audience yet. Acoustics and presentation perfect.' -- V. E. B. Fuller.



(6) Photograph of Edison and Ford at Western Union exhibit examining the Edison Telegraph Perforator. Liberal Arts Palace. Cardinell-Vincent Company, Photographer. 1915. Courtesy of the University of California, Davis.













The "Ola" & "Phon" Brands

(1) The Antique Phonograph Society ( - The Antique Phonograph is a worldwide society of 1000+ members who share a passion for the preservation of antique phonographs, gramophones and records. We encourage, promote, publish and present research on the history of sound recording and reproduction, including the machines that create and preserve these wonderful voices and sounds. To that end, our Society maintains informative articles on its website which are open to the public, as well as an exhaustive online searchable archive of over 20,000 pages of phonograph and record research material available to members. We publish a full-color quarterly journal called The Antique Phonograph. The APS also sponsors an annual antique phonograph/record Expo and banquet, to which all are welcome. JOIN TODAY!


(2) The Rock-Ola Scale Company was founded in 1927 by David Cullen Rockola. The company became the Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation in 1932.







(1) Bing

• Founded 1863 (toy making in 1880)

• Nuremberg / Germany

Brothers Ignaz and Adolf Bing began the manufacture of metal objects for the home and kitchen. In 1880 they began to make their first toys: success was enormous and in a few years the factory became the most important for toy production in the world. Before the first world war, if one counts the various factories and agencies throughout Europe, the company employed nearly 5,000. The company exported all over the world, but above all to America. In fact the 1929 crisis dealt it a fatal blow, and it foundered. The factory was acquired in 1932 by Karl Bub. This was the end of the largest toy factory that had ever existed in the world. (Courtesy DGCollection)



The Bing Corporation in New York, which was the American branch of the German company called Bing Werke (Gebrüder Bing AG) in Nuremberg. In 1925 the Bing Corporation introduced its own gramophone called Bingophone. Other Gramophones were Kiddyphon, Beymir, Bingola I - (Courtesy of 78RPM-Club)






The "Our Song" Phenomenon - A Phonograph Recollection

(1) A Phonograph Recollection, named with a tip of the hat to Mari Sandoz's The Christmas of the Phonograph Records - A Recollection


(2) Original Valentino's pizza restaurant, Lincoln, NE 1957 (courtesy of Valentino's). Val's pizza didn't have delivery service so before any of us could drive there was a significant dependency of an adult picking it up on the other side of town.

Ordering was also a challenge. It was common on a Friday or Saturday that we would start dialing around 4:00 pm to put in an order and we might get busy signals for an hour or more. There was a phone in the Keister basement (rotary phone) so this meant dialing, getting a busy signal and then redialing until we could get through. There was no auto redial on telephones. And at Val's there was no putting us "on hold" option. We actually would take turns doing the dialing until we got through.

Even when we got our order placed it might not be ready for several hours.

In retelling this pizza ordering process story I'm sure it sounds like an exaggeration, but it is a true pizza slice from the past. I do believe, however, as Siegfried Giedion wrote, that "The backward look transforms its object...History cannot be touched without changing it.



(3) There's no accounting for taste, a.k.a. Music. How my tastes have changed...





PhonoBooks - Abide by Jake Adam York

(1) Curiously, at the time Leon Scott invented his phonautograph, he had devised a way only to make a visual record of a voice, but not to reproduce the sound. Scott's recording bristle -- from a pig or a bird -- scratched the surface of the blackened paper to make a visual tracing of the voice. "He never anticipated that these tracings could be used to reproduce the voice," Koenigsberg said. "They were only used for visual study."

Courtesy of Allen Koenigsberg and the New York Times, March 25, 1999 by Katie Hafner



(2) Jake was inspired by the Civil Rights Memorial to take on a project he called Inscriptions for Air. He wrote of this project:

Inscriptions for Air is the collective name for the body of elegiac poetry I’ve been writing for the last decade, dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement, known and unknown. Inscriptions for Air is a book with several spines, with many bindings, which include those of Murder Ballads, A Murmuration of Starlings, and Persons Unknown, while also exceeding them.

Courtesy of Los Angeles Review of Books, The Air We Make Together: The Life and Poetry of Jake Adam York April 7, 2013 By Jon Tribble



PhonoBooks - The Big Book of Time

(1) Readers Digest Kids Big Book of Time, Written by William Edmonds - Illustrations by Helen Marsden Copyright

© 1994 Marshall Editions Developments Ltd., Text copyright © 1994 William Edmonds ISBN 0-89577-579-4 (1)





Phonograph Connections with the Sewing Machine


(1) "The new phonograph takes up, with its table, about the space occupied by a sewing-machine, and might at first be taken for one." The Atlantic, February 1889



(2) "Uncle Sam--Now Let Some of the Other Fellows Invent Something" by Charles Nelan, New York Herald, January 9, 1898 courtesy of Ohio State Library, Cartoonist Collection,>



(3) Phono-Graphics - The Visual Parphernalia of The Talking Machine by Arnold Schwartzman, ©1993 Chronicle Books; Photograph by Garry Brod ©1993

This is a superb book of phonograph related images and graphic styles used "to adorn and advertise phonographs and phonograph accourtrements during the golden age of the Talking Machine" including this set of Columbia Graphophone needle tins from the collection of the author, Arnold Schwartman.












Miscellaneous PhonoLinks - Uncategorized Phonographia connections pre-2018

(1) - Miscellaneous Phonograph connections in history and popular culture

Phonograph related images - in advertisements and photographs, on the intranet, etc.

Phonograph related phrases - heard in sayings such as "sounds like a broken record", "in the groove", and "record album".

Phonograph related experiences - stories related to growing up with recorded sound, listening to vinyl records played by phonographs, etc.

Phonograph related facts called Factolas - facts related to the phonograph and recorded sound






(1) Stollwerk phonograph and records displayed as logo courtesy of EMI Archive Trust








Memories of the Phonograph - Menu

(1) Stollwe








Why December 6th?


(1) Edison Cylinder Records 1889-1912, Allen Koenigsberg p. xii ""Kruesi finished the phonograph.", as recorded in the diary of Charles Batchelor, one of Edison's aides.


(2) (National Park Service) - "He liked the phonograph so much he called it his "baby." He also worked on the phonograph longer than any other invention--52 years--and made many improvements."


(3) Technical Notes 968, Speaking Telegraph, July 17, 1877 The Papers of Thomas A. Edison, p 438


(4) Patrick Feaster, "Speech Acoustics and the Keyboard Telephone: Rethinking Edison's Discovery of the Phonograph Principle," ARSC Journal 38:1 (Spring 2007), 10-43


(5) Edison Cylinder Records 1889-1912, Allen Koenigsberg p. xi - "But Edison, as early as July 18, 1877, had already discovered the basic principle of the phonograph, and mentioned it almost in passing on a laboratory work sheet. Edison was concerned at the time with developing a cheap and efficient method of transferring telegraph signals from station to station. He conceived an automatic electro-mechanical device and built both cyulinder and disc models. As he later recalled it was his hearing difficult which caused him to attach a sharp point to a telephone diaphragm and the vibrations actually caused the point to prick his finger. He then reasoned that the mechanical force of the diaphragm would be equivalent to the electrical embossing point of the telegraph apparatus. By the end of July he had constructed a paraffin paper deviced called a telephonic repeater, and immediately filed for a patent in Greta Britain."


(6) Rutgers - - "In July 1877, while developing his telephone transmitter..."


(7) Edison Cylinder Records 1889-1912, Allen Koenigsberg p. xii


(8) America's Story - see source 7 for details


(9) Edison Cylinder Records 1889-1912, Allen Koenigsberg p. xii ""apprently this sketch that his workman, John Kruesi, used to construct the first tin-foil model."


(10) Edison Cylinder Records 1889-1912, Allen Koenigsberg p. xii ""Kruesi made phonograph today.", as recorded in the diary of Charles Batchelor, one of Edison's aides.


(11) Rutgers - - The Thomas A. Edison Papers Project is co-sponsored by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, the National Park Service, the New Jersey Historical Commission, and the Smithsonian Institution.


(12) Charles Cros, for his due credit as described in “The Talking Machine”, p. 9, by Timothy C. Fabrizio and George F. Paul






Moorsetown, NJ and the Nipper connection

(1) The connection of Nipper to Moorestown is Eldridge R. Johnson, the early 20th century businessman and inventor who moved his family to Moorsetown in 1919. Johnson bought the American rights to the painting of Nipper, "His Master's Voice," in 1900. Nipper became one of the most famous advertising icons in the world promoting the Victor Talking Machine, the Victrola and millions of phonograph and gramophone records.

After the 1929 purchase of the Victor Talking Machine Company by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) the company became RCA Victor and continued to use Nipper as its trademark for radios and a variety of other technologies.






Cotesfield, NE - A Brief History

(1) "Cotesfield, Howard County". Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies. University of Nebraska. Retrieved 13 August 2014. Wikipedia


(2) Capace, Nancy (1999). Encyclopedia of Nebraska. North American Book Dist LLC. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-403-09834-7. Wikipedia


(3) Fitzpatrick, Lillian L. (1960). Nebraska Place-Names. University of Nebraska Press. p. 80. ISBN 0-8032-5060-6. A 1925 edition is available for download at University of Nebraska—Lincoln Digital Commons. WIkipedia


(4) "Cotesfield Post Office". Howard County Historical Society. Retrieved 13 August 2014. Wikipedia


(5) Schweitzer, Amy. 138-year-old Cotesfield Church to Close, Grand Island Independent, Dec 3, 2011, ( accessed August 4, 2019)