A Summary List of Phonographia FACTOLAS


Every gallery in Phonographia has multiple facts connected with the phonograph. Some are identified as FACTOLAS. This is their summary list.



FACTOLA 1 The Phonograph changed the human perception of ephemeral sound.


FACTOLA 2 The Phonograph was a machine that started a social and cultural revolution. Records revolved and played "bottled up" music and speech anytime, anywhere and as often as you wanted.





FACTOLA, October 26, 1877 - The first telephone in the White House was installed for President Rutherford B. Hayes. The White House was given the telephone exchange number "1."


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


FACTOLA, November 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. (probably November 1 or November 8, 1888).


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


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


FACTOLA, April 14, 1894 - The first commercial exhibition of Edison's Kinetoscope motion pictures opened in the first Kinetoscope parlor, a building and storefront at 1155 Broadway, New York City.

A bust of Edison was located in the front section of the Kinetoscope parlor on opening day but was soon removed. According to Alfred O. Tate, Edison's Private Secretary, a few weeks after the opening "I received a message from Edison asking me to remove it. He thought it undignified."

It is unknown what Edison meant by "undignified" but ironically the first occupant of the 1876 building's storefront had been John Rogers, the famous artist known for his popular "Rogers Group" pieces and who was commonly called the "people's sculptor." Rogers had his first floor studio at 1155 Broadway building from 1876 through 1879 (described as "his showroom at 1155 Broadway (at Twenty-third Street)" in John Rogers American Stories. (New-York Historical Society 2010)


FACTOLA, April 1898 - Thomas A. Edison will not talk into his own phonograph. He has persistently refused and gave as his reason: "It would make me sick with disgust," he explained, "to see placarded on phonographs everywhere I turn: 'Drop a nickel in the slot and hear Edison talk.' No, no; noe of that for me."


FACTOLA, January 15, 1906 - The King of Spain has a number of wax models of himself that open and close their eyes. Within each is a little phonograph that cries "Long Live Spain."


FACTOLA, July 18, 1906 - Thomas Edison was given a solid gold cylinder record by the Jobbers of the United States and Canada meeting at the 1906 Edison Phonograph Jobbers event. The gold record was then played on an Edison Triumph Phonograph and its address included the declaration that Edison's Phonograph "is the eighth wonder of the world" and the name of Thomas A. Edison will be placed "at the head of the column of the world's greatest captains of industry."


FACTOLA, January 1907 - "A phonograph being heard through a phonograph is presented in the Sterling record, entitled "The Absent Son."


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..."


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.


FACTOLA, 1917 - Phonograph apparatus used to record heart beats of a French soldier during World War I. 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."


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.


FACTOLA, October 1918 - The only authentic sounds of the First World War are said to be the recording of the gas shell bombardment by the Royal Garrison Artillery, 9th October 1918, preparatory to the British Troops entering Lille, France.


FACTOLA, April 1920 - The first record lifter on the market - The Vacuum Record Lifter "raises the record without touching the tone arm..."


FACTOLA, 1956 - Phonograph records were put on cereal boxes as a premium to cut-out and play. According to mrbreakfast.com 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."


FACTOLA, 1962 - The Beatles Audition for Decca Records but are rejected. On January 1, 1962 John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best auditioned at Decca's London studio, formally known as a "commercial test." A month later Decca decided not to sign them as executives felt that "guitar groups are on the way out" and "the Beatles have no future in show business."


FACTOLA, 1964 - A circa 1910 gramophone horn was being used for the cover of a storm cellar's air vent in Cotesfield, NE.


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?


FACTOLA, March 2016 - Walt Whitman did not record his poem "America" or make any phonograph record.




FACTOLA, March 1898 - The Hunting Talking Machine Telegraphic Code


FACTOLA, March 1898 - Russell Hunting, whose legacy included his "Casey" series of records, started his own company, RUSSELL HUNTING. As General Sales and Purchasing Agent his Cable Address was "PHONOCASEY NEW YORK." This was the first inclusion of a Cable Address in The Phonoscope ads.

For examples of other Cable Addresses used by Phonograph Companies prior to 1900 see the following:

April 1898 - The Edison Phonograph Agency in New York, N.Y. " FUSE, New York."

May 1898 - Maguire & Baucus, "Cousinhood," New York and London.

October 1898 - William Roche, manufacturer of batteries for phonograph motors: "ROBAT."

January 1899 - C. E. Stevens, Selling Agent for Edison goods and Phonographs: "ESTABAN."

February 1899 - The Phonograph Sapphire Co., makers of "Jones" Jewels for all Talking-Machines: "JOSSAPH NEW YORK."

March 1899 - Reed, Dawson & Co., first-class original RECORDS: "REDAW."

October 1899 - The Polyphone Co., and Leon F. Douglass: "POLYPHONE, CHICAGO."

November 1899 - American Talking Machine Co.: "TWINEAST NEW YORK."

December 1899 - American Micrograph Co.: "MICRO" N.Y.




Christmas of the Phonograph Records

FACTOLA: In Mari Sandoz's "recollection" short story The Christmas of the Phonograph Records her father's extravagant and much anticipated Phonograph is delivered to their isolated homestead in western Nebraska just in time for Christmas. The first cylinder record they play is the Sextet from Lucia. Mari remembers that moment of hearing Lucia as "what still seems to me the most beautiful singing in the world."


The Hurdy Gurdy Girl

FACTOLA: "The Hurdy Gurdy Girl (a musical by Richard Carle which played in Boston in the summer of 1907) used an Edison Standard Phonograph in Act 1 to which one of the cast danced to its record.


What Happened to Mary

FACTOLA: Edison's twelve one-reel moving picture play of the episodes of "What Happened to Mary" is the first serialized movie in the United States. With release of episode one starting July 26, 1912 to coincide with the serial story of the same name's publication in The Ladies' World magazine this serial became a popular culture marker. MoMA summarized this success as follows: "Starring the popular Mary Fuller as a foundling in search of her biological parents, the series was a sensation—inspiring fashion layouts, songs, a novelization, a board game, a Broadway play, and the 1913 sequel (now lost) Who Will Mary Marry?."


The Phonograph Girls

FACTOLA: "THE PHONOGRAPH GIRLS is the first play known in which the talking machine and its commercial environment has figured in a professional way and carrying off the honors." (The "talking machine" used was Columbia's Twentieth Century Graphophone. The commercial environment was a scene inside the interior of a phonograph store). The Talking Machine World, October 15, 1906 - (Source: The Phonograph Girls)


FACTOLA: The "BC" Columbia Graphophone was used by the Cameraphone Company in 1908 to combine recorded sound with moving pictures. A performer "speaks, and the words come from the Graphophone in perfect accordance with the movements of his lips....He sings his song with every appropriate gesture, the word words and music all the while coming from the Graphophone." One of the most successful of the combined songs and moving pictures is the famous "Smile, Smile, Smile" from Lew Field's latest production..." (Source: May 1908 The Columbia Record trade journal and courtesy of The Antique Phonograph Monthly). - (Source: The Phonograph Girls)


FACTOLA: "The Judge," an English play in 1890 used a phonograph "to provide the sound effects of a crying infant from off stage." This is believed to be the first use of a phonograph in a supporting role of a stage play. Source: "Edison in Hollywood" by Allen Koenigsberg, The Antique Phonograph, June 2016.


FACTOLA: "The Higham Reproducer, invented by Daniel Higham, was used in Higham's talking machine named the High-am-o-phone and was displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 as part of the exhibit of Columbia Phonograph Company records and machines. Higham's machine was noted on the exhibit's inventory sheet as "the loudest sound -reproducing machine in the world." (Courtesy APM 11:1, Allen Koenigsberg and Doug DeFeis).


The Tribulations of a Chinaman

FACTOLA 1: Jules Verne

It is noted by William Butcher in The Journal of Foreign Languages that the insertion by Verne of the phonograph in this novel as "a recent invention is the first time in any of his novels, as previously his preference had been for low technology like sledges or balloons or, just as often, no technology at all.)" (1)

In addition to Kin-Fo's phonograph..."there was hardly a modern scientific applicance that had not been adopted in his house; he had a telephone that placed him in communication with every department of the yament; he had electric bells fitted to every chamber;" (ibid, p.39)


FACTOLA 2: Edison-Hardy Phonograph

In the September, 2022 edition of the Antique Phonograph Allen Koenigsberg wrote that instead of "leaping into fantasy" about how Jules Verne would picture a mechanical machine for vocal preservation, he "instead portrayed a specific 'Edison-Hardy' incarnation." The woodcut for Verne's story was then compared by Koenigsberg with the "period catalog" from Charles Magne for the French "Phonographe Edison" made by Edouard Hardy for Edison to show the connection.

Catalog from Charles Magne of Edison-Hardy Phonograph (used with permission of Allen Koenigsberg)




FACTOLA: "between 1915 and 1920 the Edison company sponsored over four thousand tone tests and twenty-five different sets of artists were scheduled to perform more than two thousand tone tests in 1920 alone. The test groups toured towns, large and small, all across America to tout the wonders of the Edison Diamond Disc." (Courtesy Emily Thompson, “Machines, Music, and the Quest for Fidelity: Marketing the Edison Phonograph in America, 1877-1925”)




FACTOLA: Jane Fonda has the most examples of different media formats for a recorded workout program: LPs (33 1/3), cassette tapes, Betamax tapes, VHS tapes, LaserDiscs, CEDs (RCA SelectaVision), CDs, DVDs, and streaming from the intranet (e.g., Roku, Amazon, etc.).


FACTOLA: The Edison cylinder record "Jingle Bells" played by banjoist Will Lyle, October 30,1889, is believed to be the first recording of what is now known in popular culture as a Christmas record. "One horse open Sleigh" by J. Pierpont was published in 1857 as the original title but was soon renamed "Jingle Bells" and appeared as such on the front panel of the sheet music in 1859 (and thereafter).




FACTOLA: The number of talking machines that used '-ola' as a brand name.




Every date identified in the Phonographia "On This Day" calendar is essentially a FACTOLA. The following, however, are FACTOLAS specific to holidays with examples of phonograph popular culture connections made with that holiday.

FACTOLA: January 1 Happy New Year and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: February 11 Edison's Birthday

FACTOLA: Edison was responsible for introducing "Hello" as the way to answer the phone. For more information see "Hello or Ahoy?"

FACTOLA: The shortest appearance of Edison in a surviving movie is one second. The movie was the 1915 Edison 20-minute silent film 'drama' titled "Voice of the Violin." (See Phonographia's "The Voice of the Violin" for more details about that one second.)

FACTOLA: A recording made of Thomas Edison (c. late October 1888) can be heard on the record "Around the World on the Phonograph" and is believed to be the earliest existing recording of Thomas Edison's voice. The record format is an Edison yellow paraffine cylinder and it's located in the collection of the National Park Service's Very Early Recorded Sound page (NPS object catalog number: EDIS 566) and is available for listening HERE.

FACTOLA: Edison was one of the most recognized names of his time. The Phonograph alone made his face, trade-mark, and signature a popular culture fixture with its countless advertisements, newspaper articles, products, and ephemera. Multiply that by all of his other inventions and consumer products which leveraged his name and his fame in popular culture surely is in the top five. Despite the Wizard of Menlo Park's life-long fame and his 1,093 patents he has been attributed to have said:

"We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything." — Thomas Edison (as quoted in Golden Book (April 1931), according to Stevenson's Book of Quotations (Cassell 3rd edition 1938) by Burton Egbert Stevenson - LibQuotes also references Golden Book, April 1931, however, this quote is not included in Stevenson's Book of Quotations 5th edition, 1946).

FACTOLA: Thomas Alva Edison died at 3:21 AM on October 18, 1931, at his estate, Glenmont, in West Orange, New Jersey. Edison's 'last breath' is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

"This test tube was one of several that Charles Edison noticed standing open in a rack in the bedroom in which his father had just died in 1931. The attending physician was asked to seal the tubes, one of which Charles later sent on to Henry Ford who kept it with other Edison mementos at his home, Fair Lane." (Source: The Henry Ford).


FACTOLA: According to various sources, including the book "Edison: Inventing the Century" by Neil Baldwin, hours before his death, Edison emerged from a coma, opened his eyes, looked upwards and said "It is very beautiful over there." (Source: The Wall Street Journal and NPR "Steve Jobs And His Last Words" by Eyder Peralta, October 31, 2011.


FACTOLA: Edison was not impressed with the Arc de Triomphe. "I always see beside it another and greater arch, thousands of feet high, made of phosphate of the bones of victims sacrificed for Napoleon's personal glory." (Source: Edison, Morris, Edmund, 2019, Random Housem New York).


FACTOLA: Thomas Edison's 1899 interview - And life hereafter?

"Who knows? I don't" says Edison.

"If I could solve the riddle of this life I might have some ideas about the next. Oh, I don't know...I know something about science -- about steam and iron and electricity -- but this matter of destiny -- why we came here and where we are going -- is beyond my ken."



FACTOLA: February 14 Valentine's Day and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: Easter and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: July 4th and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: Halloween and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: Thanksgiving and the Phonograph


FACTOLA: December 6 and 25 - Santa, Christmas and the Phonograph





FACTOLA: The number of talking machines that used 'phone' or 'graph' as a brand name




FACTOLA: On February 4, 2008, for the first time ever, NASA beamed a song directly into deep space using NASA's Deep Space Network. The song: Across the Universe by The Beatles.



RECORD AND ALBUM COVER FACTOLAS - A Gallery of Factolas based on album covers and records


FACTOLA: The First LP Album - The Columbia Masterworks Record ML4100, Mendelssohn: Concerto in E Minor, Nathan Milstein, Violin with the Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York conducted by Bruno Walter was pressed in 1948 and is the first vinyl Long-Playing (LP) record. Columbia called their record vinyl "Nonbreakable Vinylite."


FACTOLA: The New Number 1 of "Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time on September 22, 2020 was What's Going On by Marvin Gaye, Tamla/Motown, 1971


FACTOLA: The album cover titled Pure Prairie League by the Pure Prairie League is based on Norman Rockwell's 1927 painting titled "Dreams of Long Ago."


FACTOLA: The album cover The Present by The Moody Blues is an example of double cover art. First it's an album cover for a vinyl record. Second it's an artwork 'cover' since it'ss based on Maxfield Parrish's 1922 painting Daybreak.


FACTOLA: The longest playing single on a 45 RPM record is the live version of Incident on 57th Street, B-Side of the Bruce Springsteen 45 RPM Fire, at 10 minutes and 3 seconds.


FACTOLA: The photograph for the Bob Dylan Bringing It All Back Home album cover was taken by photographer Daniel Kramer in the home of Dylan's manager Albert Grossman and "features Sally Grossman (wife of Dylan's manager Albert Grossman) lounging in the background."


FACTOLA: Original recording of Hound Dog was by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton on August 13, 1952, in Los Angeles and released by Peacock Records in late February 1953.


FACTOLA: For her closing remarks in the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate (Biden vs. Palin), Sarah Palin paraphrased Ronald Reagan. The source of Palin's words were from a 1961 Reagan phonograph record titled Ronald Reagan speaks out against Socialized Medicine.


FACTOLA: Song playlists used for 2020 President campaign rallies by nine Democratic candidates and President Trump.


FACTOLA: Eddie Deezen, author of The Ambiguous History of the Hokey Pokey, concludes that the "earliest accurate record, so far, of the song we all know and love is from an account, dated 1857, of two sisters from Canterbury, England, on a trip to Bridgewater, New Hampshire...During their visit, they taught the locals a song that went something like this: "I put my right hand in, I put my right hand out, I give my hand a shake, shake, shake, And I turn myself about." Apparently, the performance of the song—called "Right Elbow In" and several verses long—was accompanied by "appropriate gestures" and was danced with a slow, rhythmic motion."


FACTOLAS - Three FACTOLAS underlie Comedy on Records:

Recorded humor allowed the public to hear what they otherwise would not hear.

Recorded humor reinforced racial, ethnic and gender stereotypes.

Recorded humor could be heard by other comedians and then be copied, adapted or used to improve their own skills and style.


FACTOLA: The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women compiled by NPR Music, July 24, 2017.


FACTOLA: Furthest Distance from Earth a Record played on a turntable - The Icarus and Third Man Records - July 2, 2016.


FACTOLA: iam8bit produces video game soundtracks on vinyl. The label sold 200,000 albums as of September 2019.


FACTOLA: Yesterday by the Beatles - The most covered song in recording history"




FACTOLA: There were at least 12 newspapers in the United States named the Phonograph between 1878 and 1889 in honor of Edison's December 6, 1877 invention of the Phonograph.




FACTOLA about Charles Batchelor's connection with the sewing machine industry:

Mr. Charles Batchelor (who would become Edison's chief assistant at Menlo Park and who stands next to him in the photograph taken at Mathew Brady Studio April 19,1878 of Edison with his tinfoil phonograph) was a very skillful mechanic who was sent "from England to superintend the setting up and adjusting of the automatic thread machinery for the Clark Thread Works."(1A)


FACTOLA: Mr. John Kruesi, the associate of Edison and his machinist who built the first tin-foil Phonograph in December 1877, came to the United States in "1870 and went to work for the Singer Sewing Machine Company at Elizabethport.



FACTOLA: In the 1908 Bryan vs. Taft Presidential Election for the first time everyone had the means to hear the "exact words" of each Presidential candidate. "Now, for the first time, one can introduce the rival candidates for the Presidency in one's own home, can listen to their political views, expressed in their real voices, and make comparison." The Edison Phonograph Monthly, September 1908




FACTOLA: The first nickel-in-the-slot phonograph was installed November 23, 1889, by Louis Glass inside the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco.


FACTOLA: The tape cassette (a.k.a. compact cassette) was introduced by the Dutch company Royal Philips in September 1963.


FACTOLA: The Sony Walkman TPS-L2, the world's first low-cost personal stereo compact cassette tape player, went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979. (Wikipedia)


FACTOLA: The CD "Down to the Bone" Album II (reissue in US as Q2-2002) by The Urban Grooves in 2000 was designed to look like a 45 RPM record. Selection 7 on the CD is titled "Vinyl Junkie." The cover art featured a record store with the signage Urban Grooves Records.


FACTOLA: The Magnavox Magnavision model 8000 was the first reflective optical videodisc player to be released to the general public on December 15, 1978 at three stores in Atlanta, GA. (Courtesy LaserVision Landmarks)


FACTOLA: The RCA Selectavision VideoDisc player (which used its CED phonograph-like record and needle to play audio and video) went on sale March 22, 1981. Wikipedia


FACTOLA: In 2015, for the first time, streaming became the largest component of industry revenues, just slightly higher than digital downloads.




FACTOLA: In January 2017 Monopoly puts its eight tokens to an Internet vote asking what game pieces were worthy. All were on the table from its current classic pieces to more than 50 new options including a gramophone. The vote was conducted, however, the gramophone failed to get the needed votes. Three classics also lost: the Thimble, the Boot, and the Wheelbarrow.




FACTOLA: Voyager 2 is a space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 which now travels in interstellar space carrying a phonograph record that is Earth's "message in the bottle" and "greetings from Earth."


FACTOLA: Voyager 1 launched on September 5, 1977 and like Voyager 2 is now travelling in interstellar space carrying a phonograph record that is Earth's "message in the bottle" and "greetings from Earth."


FACTOLA: Voyager 1 and 2 were launched within months of being exactly 100 years after the invention of the Phonograph by Thomas Alva Edison. Both carry their "Golden Record" that is designed to play audio at 16-2/3 RPM using a phonograph needle and also display images from the grooves of the record. The images, sounds and music on the Voyager's "Golden Record" are intended to represent life on planet Earth.


FACTOLA: The "Golden Record" may never be played. But there is still the mind-bending possibility that the Voyager record will exist longer than humans on Earth.


FACTOLA: On April 22, 1978 NBC's Saturday Night Live did a skit "Next Week in Review" which reported what would be the biggest news story of the year, namely that "a foreign planet" had sent a message to Earth "the FIRST positive proof that other intelligent beings inhabit the universe." They apparently had found the Voyager spacecraft, listened to its Golden Record and had now communicated four words to Earth: “Send More Chuck Berry”.




FACTOLA: On June 29, 1888, Handel's Israel in Egypt was recorded at The Crystal Palace in London, the earliest known recording of classical music.




FACTOLA: On December 6, 1877 at Edison's Menlo Park, New Jersey Laboratory Thomas Alva Edison's Phonograph was said to be "finished" (1) and ready to be heard by the world.


FACTOLA: On December 7, 1877 Edison's infant invention was taken to the offices of Scientific American where the Phonograph introduced itself. This debut of the machine that Edison would later call his "favorite invention" and his "baby"(2), was subsequently described in the December 22, 1877 issue of Scientific American.




FACTOLA: The 1893 Bernese Alps Cyclorama at the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago was the first World's Fair "multi-media attraction" to use recorded sound as part of its presentation with a milkmaid singing a Swiss ballad. The Cyclorama on the Midway Plaisance used a phonograph as part of its cycloramic form "to make the deception complete, as one's ears are greeted with the strains of a Swiss ballad seeming to proceed from the maid."


FACTOLA: The Keller coin-in-the-slot Phonograph was at the World's Columbian Exposition and in 1893 still had its push-bar to activate coin insert. That push-bar was eventually discarded because people either hung their hats on it, or small children used it as a trapeze bar. The improved version had a small crank which was "close" to the case (horizontal) and did not project so much. Those serial #'s began much higher, generally #750." - (Allen Koenigsberg via correspondence).




FACTOLA: The earliest example of a phonograph being part of an advertisement, but not with the intention of selling a phonograph in that ad, is the June 1, 1878 illustration in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In this ad Brother Jonathan (a symbol of the United States in general, and an allegorical figure of U.S. capitalism) is promoting the export of Mrs. Potts' Sad Irons to Russia by bringing the message to the Czar of their pending delivery by means of the recently invented Edison tinfoil phonograph.



FACTOLA: Each movie in Phonographia's The Phonograph in the Movies has at least one phonograph in its story. The names and current number of those movies is in Phonographia's List of Movies.



FACTOLA, April 14, 1894 - In the storefront of 1155 Broadway, New York City, the first commercial exhibition of Edison's Kinetoscope motion pictures opened in its Kinetoscope parlor on April 14, 1894.

The sculptured bust of Edison which was originally located in the front of the parlor was soon removed. According to Alfred O. Tate, Edison's Private Secretary, a few weeks after the opening "I received a message from Edison asking me to remove it. He thought it undignified."

It is unknown what Edison meant by "undignified" but ironically the first occupant of this storefront built in 1876 had been John Rogers, the famous artist known as the "people's sculptor" and his popular "Rogers Group" pieces. Rogers had his first floor studio at 1155 Broadway through 1879.




FACTOLA: Frank Lambert made a lead-sleeve phonograph in 1878 for the Ansonia Clock Co with the hours of the day engraved by the inventor's voice himself. Lambert's recording "is the "oldest direct-to-ear track of sound" existing. (Credit: Frank Lambert's Amazing Time Machine, by Aaron Cramer with additional research by Allen Koenigsberg in The Antique Phonograph Monthly, Issue 97, 1992).

Lambert's phonograph itself wasn't a talking clock but his recording included the hours of the day "One o'clock, Two o'clock, Three o'clock, Four o'clock, Five o'clock, Six o'clock, Seven o'clock, Eight o'clock, Nine o'clock, Eleven o'clock, Twelve o'clock." The APM article noted that "Ten o'clock was omitted, perhaps because Lambert was still a relatively new immigrant." It is concluded by the Cramer APM article that Lambert's testing "beyond a traditional "one, two, three...could only have been done for the full sound track necessary for a talking clock!"




FACTOLA: The earliest example of a phonograph being part of an advertisement but not with the intention of selling a phonograph is a June 1, 1878 illustration in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In this ad Brother Jonathan (a symbol of the United States in general, and an allegorical figure of U.S. capitalism) is promoting the export of Mrs. Potts' Sad Irons to Russia by bringing the message to the Czar of their pending delivery by means of the recently invented Edison tinfoil phonograph. (See Phonographs in Other Ads for this same FACTOLA in another context).


FACTOLA: Uncle Sam, Brother Jonathan, and the President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes were each seen in advertisements in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspapers promoting Mrs. Potts' Sad Irons within three weeks of each other: Uncle Sam (May 11, 1878), Brother Jonathan (June 1, 1878) and President and Mrs. Hayes (May 18, 1878).


FACTOLA: On April 18, 1878 and into the morning of April 19, Thomas Edison demonstrated the Edison tinfoil phonograph to President and Mrs. Hayes at the White House making President Hayes the first president of the United States and the first head of state of any country to hear the phonograph and its recorded sound.

The backstory: Edison received word around eleven at night that President Hayes would be glad to have a demonstration that night. It went so successfully that "at about half-past twelve, when it was expected he would leave, the President suggested that Mrs. Hayes and her friends should hear the talking machine. They were aroused from their beds and only after another three hours was Edison allowed to leave." ("Edison The Man Who Made the Future," Ronald W. Clark, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1977, p. 81).



FACTOLA: In the history of vaudeville "The Graphophone Girl" is the earliest documented example of a vaudeville performance which used a phonograph as a participating co-star exchanging lines and singing. The act was also said to have won "much praise wherever heard for originality and finish."