Believe it or Not!

Miscellaneous Phonographia Factolas


Advertising by its very nature can push believeability to its boundaries. Early phonograph advertisements describing phonograph records as producing sound "only life itself can compare with" and the artist seemingly performing in your own home exemplify the phonograph industry's map of believeability borders.

The following, however, are not based on phonograph advertisements but are instead orphaned factolas that have their own page here in phonographia's scrapbook.


FACTOLA, August 15, 1908 - "Probably the highest graphophone store in the world" is in Silver Plume, Colorado "over 9,000 feet above the sea level..."

This 'store in the clouds' factola comes from a talking machine industry trade magazine that was specifically referencing a Columbia Graphophone store (and even qualified it with "probably.") Other phonographs might have been playing at higher altitudes but in 1908 this probably was the highest graphophone store in the world.


The Talking Machine World, August 15, 1908



FACTOLA, July, 1879 - The first phonograph used in a United States post office as customer communication support was in Leadville, Colorado.

Bergmann Exhibition Tinfoil Phonograph sold in per contract with the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company


It is known that one of Edison's 1878 tin-foil phonographs (a Bergmann Exhibition model phonograph) was purchased in September 1878 by a Mr. S. D. Silver who lived in Leadville, Colorado (elevation 10,151 feet). (1) Silver exhibited the phonograph around the country and later raffled it, reportedly won by the Leadville post office letter register clerk W. D. Stone in July 1879. The clerk was said to have recorded a "choice selection of oaths" and then placed the phonograph in the Leadville post office window where it could "swear at unidentified people who call for letters and get mad because he will not hand them out without the proper vouchification."


The Daily Chronicle, Leadville, Colorado, Thursday Evening, July 31, 1879




FACTOLA, November 1 or November 8, 1888 - The first attempt to record a public speech by means of the phonograph was made Thursday evening at a democratic rally in the Park rink in Orange, New Jersey. Eighteen cylinders were used with 'slight breaks" between changing of the cylinders. The cylinders were said to each last about seven minutes. The portions of the speeches taken were nearly two hours long. The phonograph was operated by Theodore Wangemann and an assistant, both connected with the Edison Laboratory.

From New York dispatch and printed in the Dannebrog Sentinel on Saturday, November 10, 1888, p. 2.





FACTOLA, April 20, 1891 - First attempt to introduce a new way to speculate in stocks using the Phonograph to place orders.

Reported by San Francisco's The Examiner, The Public Stock Exchange was incorporated in December 1890 with by-laws that stated "stocks may be bought and sold by oral expression or by the reannouncement of orders on a phonograph in the exchange room. When a phonograph is used to make the bids and offers it shall be done aloud so that all may hear it and a record made at once of each offer to buy and sell on a blackboard in the Exchange room. The phonograph thus used is designated the "Main Phonograph."

The Attorney-General filed a complaint to have the Public Stock Exchange charter forfeited since the Main Phonograph can be manipulated. See On the Phonograph, The Examiner, April 20, 1891 for the original newspaper article.

See BOGUS STOCK GAMBLING." Chief Crowley Says He Will Raid the Phonograph Game for details about creating the prices for stock quotations on the phonograph, playing them back and then recording those quotes on the board. The Examiner, November 7, 1891

See The Phonograph Leak for an example of how the phonograph speculation game, aka clock game, operated and went wrong for the San Francisco Public Stock Exchange. The Examiner, January 19, 1892




FACTOLA, April 13, 1893 - The horse "Phonograph" came in first at the Elizabeth race track paying five to one (reported by The Phonogram, March-April 1893.




FACTOLA, April 1909 - The royal Swedish academy presented Thomas A. Edison with the Adelskiold gold medal for his inventions in connection with phonograph and the incandescent light.


The Juniata Herald, April 14, 1909




FACTOLA, March 1918 - The play "Why Marry?" is believed to be the first time the complete play has been recorded on talking machine records by all actors in the play.


The Talking Machine World, March 15, 1918




FACTOLA, 1971 - "Would you believe..." the Columbia Record & Tape Club offered LPs and 8-track cartridges and tape cassettes and 7" reel-to-reel tapes as new record club options in the 1970's?

The phonograph industry has shared its position of providing recorded music to consumers as new technologies, formats and listening options have evolved. In the 1990's CDs would be another recorded music option and in 2001 Rhapsody would introduce "the first streaming on-demand music subscription service to offer unlimited access to a large library of digital music for a flat monthly fee." (see Wikipedia).

The evolution of the phonograph's revolution has continued into the 21st century but through it all the phonograph and its records continue to revolve. The Phonograph Lives!

Columbia Record & Tape Club, 1979


See ClickAmericana for more examples of Record Club's history and promotions

1971 Order Form for Columbia Record Club




FACTOLA, 1917 - Phonograph apparatus in World War I used to record heart beats of a French soldier for analysis of physical stamina.

An recording appartus during World War I made a record of the heart beats of a soldier in the French army. The Pathe Phonograph Co. and the French government hoped recordings would provide detailed information of the physical stamina of the soldiers in the French army. "The minutest irregularity in the heart beats is instantly detected."


The Talking Machine World, Feburary 15, 1917




FACTOLA, 1956 - Phonograph records were put on cereal boxes as a premium to cut-out and play. According to and Discogs the first records were on General Mills' Wheaties cereal boxes in 1956, 78 RPM cut-outs for Walt Disney's Mouseketeer Records of Chip 'N Dale performing "Ten Little Indians" and "The Laughing Song."


1956 The Laughing Song 78 RPM Cut-out record from box of Wheaties