of the Phonograph
By James Boilesen
I grew up in a home that had some antique
phonographs in our basement. My brother Doug's collection included
several Edison phonographs that played cylinder records and
a few cabinet model machines including his very first machine,
a Victrola XVI.
Doug kept a few of his favorite records
inside the cabinet of his Victrola. Of course as
a toddler I didn't know what a Victrola was except that it had
doors. And since doors to a three-year-old are something to
be opened I did one fateful day open those doors and apparently
found the cylinder cardboard boxes that were obviously meant
for me to play with.
That was my first contact with Edison cylinder
records, a day not good for six of those wax records.
I was too young to remember any details
but I do know that Doug replaced the broken records, including
Edison Record Number 8619 "Rueben
Haskins' ride on a cyclone auto" by Len Spencer, and
that to this day hearing
that 'cyclone auto' record is a reminder for Doug of my
early interest in phonograph records.
So I had an early introduction to phonographs
Since music and turntables and sound systems
would later become an important part of my life it's clear that
my first encounter with recorded sound didn't negatively impact
that interest. A decade later that destruction of Edison cylinders
also wasn't enough to ban me from becoming a charter member
of Friends of the Phonograph.
So here are a few phonograph memories that
probably have alittle more relevance to the development of my
passion for record players and recorded music.
The first record player I remember is our
family's Fisher Console Stereo. It was one of those large pieces
of furniture that dominated many suburban home living rooms
in the 1970's.
I would listen to some phonograph
records on the "Fisher" and can particularly remember
the excitement of hearing the growing crescendo when playing
"In Hall of the Mountain King" (Grieg's, not Electric
Light Orchestra's) which also was often accompanied by me
and a friend dancing wildly at its conclusion.
Most of my music listening,
however, was on my Panasonic 8-track component system. The
Beatle's White Album, Rubber Soul, Revolver,
The Byrd's Greatest Hits ...these were a few of my
go-to cassette's that introduced me to a life-long passion
for recorded sound. No turntable... just two speakers, AM,
FM, and the 8-track slot.