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.