The Talking Machine Club of 1907
Memories of the Phonograph
The Talking Machine Club by Howard Taylor Middleton, January 15, 1907 (See below for complete text).
On page one of the January 15, 1907 edition of the trade magazine The Talking Machine World Mr. Middleton suggested what he called the greatest endless chain scheme for selling records that ever "came down the pike..." All talking machine dealers had to do was to start and encourage the formation of Talking Machine Clubs. "If a man who has a talking machine visits a friend who is also a "talker" crank, they are sure to compare notes and enter into an interesting discussion on the subject of amateur record making, the best horn, the most melodious brand of record, etc., and this, Mr. Dealer, is the club idea in embryo. It only needs the presence of another friend or two to form the nucleus of a booming phonographic organization. This club once formed will prove an intensely interesting and instructive pastime. Think for a moment of the wide field of amusement it will afford...
Listening to records and making original records was suggested as featured activities of club with members participating in contests and awarded suitable prizes for their 'winning' original records. And because every member must own a talking machine "it is of great advantage to a dealer who makes himself agreeable to the club, as it (the club) will naturally suggest his name to prospective members, and consequently increase his business with little or no effort on his part."
In the 21st century the technologies for recording sound have certainly evolved. But there are still phonograph societies where people get together to share their enthusiasm for "talking machines" (without any phonograph dealers figuring out how they can profit from these clubs). Present day "phonograph clubs" like the Antique Phonograph Society or the Canadian Antique Phonograph Society also have a different different focus than in 1907 as they "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."
Friends of the Phonograph (FOTP) also simply enjoy bringing friends together to celebrate the connections and legacy of the phonograph. After all, what other phonograph group annually has a birthday party on December 6 for Edison's tinfoil phonograph?
The FOTP broken record message?
The Phonograph Began a Revolution of Sound.
Created the "Best Seat in the House. Forever"©
Is a Revolution Still Turning.
The FOTP Motto? Save Energy. Wind a Phonograph!
That is all!