The Phonograph


Form 935 Advertising Card - Delighted and Amazed 1905


"The Phonograph," read the back of one of 800,000 Edison advertising post cards, "depicts the delighted amazement of an old couple upon hearing a Phonograph for the first time."


Form 935 ©1905



Form 1380 postcard

Issued by the National Phonograph Company, Orange, N.J. 1906



Here is what the Edison Phonograph Monthly said about this painting and the upcoming Edison advertising campaign in March 1906:

A STRIKING OIL PAINTING. A calendar for 1906 was mailed to the entire trade early in January. Its principal feature was a reproduction by the three-color process of an oil painting of an old couple listening in delighted amazement to an Edison Phonograph for the first time. The original of this picture was painted by Massani, a noted Italian painter. It was imported a year ago by William Johnson, then of Fifth avenue, New York city. Its first public exhibition in this country was at the Chalfonte Hotel, Atlantic City, where Mr. Johnson had an extensive exhibit of paintings, and where it was priced at $1,050. It was there bought by the National Phonograph Co. It is now being reproduced in a handsome and life-like manner in fourteen colors of lithography, and copies will later be distributed to the trade. This reproduction will be the full size of the original painting, 17 x 25 inches. It will be worth a place in any home. Other uses of the painting will follow. The subject is universally regarded as one of the most striking ever put out in connection with a talking machine.

The Edison Phonograph Monthly, March 1906




Back side of Form 935 Advertising Card for H. J. Ebenreiter, Pianos, Organs, Furniture and Undertaking, Plymouth, WIsconsin



The Edison Phonograph Monthly, April 1907




By 1908, however, Edison's advertising manager was ready to retire "the old couple":

"As an ordinary illustration, we have used it about as much as could be expected....While the uses we have made of the old couple have been satisfactory to the trade and we have had many favorable expressions concerning it, the trade, from my observation, constantly wants something new in the way of illustrated matter. New folders, new cards, new lithographs, new posters, etc., in my opinion, have a greater selling value than the continued use of one subject like the dog or the old couple."

Letter from L. C. McChesney to W. E. Gilmore, President of The National Phonograph Co., January, 1908