Record Listening Booths


By Doug Boilesen, 2019

Private listening booths and demonstration rooms were designed to focus the customer's listening experience when shopping for a new machine or record. As such they were another way the phonograph was advertised and supported in its promotion of records.

The following advertisement and others from The Talking Machine World gives some testimonials regarding increasing profits in selling machines, advantages of such rooms, and reasons to buy a Unico Design.


Installation for The Aeolian Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, The Talking Machine World, February 15, 1915


Installation for L. K. Beach, Design Number Two, Columbus, Ohio, TMW 1915



The Talking Machine World, February 1915 - Installation for Fulton Music Company, Waterbury, Conn. - The Talking Machine World, May 1915.



Silverstone Music Company's Concert Chamber "devoted exclusively to the exploitation of the Edison Diamond Disc." "This concert chamber is on the first floor and easy of access, besides five other spacy booths devoted to the demonstration of the Diamond."

"The peculiar construction of this hall produces ideal acoustics, due to the fact that the roof and ends are oval shaped, lending an artistic and esthetic appearance to the eye. The color scheme is white enamel and tan with a background of art glass, specially designed in which the word "Edison" shows in an upper pane and the instruments, the Lyre, Violin, and Flutes designed in contrasting colors of art glass representing musical art." Edison Phonograph Monthly March 1915


"Is Your Stage Setting Harmonious?" - Unico's "ADAM" design - The Talking Machine World, May 15, 1919

Fletcher's Music Store record listening booths, circa 1920's Courtesy City of Victoria Archives, Victoria, BC


The New York Public Library Phonograph Booth, Mortimer Cohen, Staff (From New York Public Library)


Record Listening Room, Saturday Evening Post, April 19, 1952



The following photos are from a delightful series of photographs titled c. 1955 Vinyl listening booths Sampling the hits -- and a cigarette by Alex Q. Arbuckle.


Listening Booths, HMV, 1955 (Courtesy Alex Q. Arbuckle) - Nov. 24, 1955 IMAGE: JOHN DRYSDALE/KEYSTONE FEATURES/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES


Listening Booths (Ibid.)

This listening booth featured in a 1959 7-Up ad shows that the booth could be more than a place to preview records before purchasing one.

Listening Booth in Record Store, "Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation" ©2015 Paramount Pictures.


Sonos’ concept store has cabin-shaped listening rooms - Covent Gardens, London 2020.