The phonograph, a.k.a. record
player, is a survivor in the history of media. Various record formats
have been used as recording media throughout the twentieth-century.
And although challenged in the 1990's, vinyl records made a comeback
for various reasons. (1) Vinyl
record stores even established a day to celebrate LPs with "Record
Store Day" becoming an annual international event in 2008.
Record players and their 33
1/3 RPM vinyl records are currently alive in an albeit niche market.
The Edison Phonograph and its wax records, on the other hand, are
on life-support being used by a much smaller group of collectors
Edison wax cylinders are still
living because they have current 'users' and because there are actually
a few companies that still make cylinder records for these machines.
Compare this with other dead media that really have perished. Although
the Edison cylinder machines and wax records are in museums this
does not make them dead media like the phenakistoscope and
the teleharmonium because the Edison Phonograph is part of a different
cultural memory bank. The early phonographs are too iconic and have
a protected niche of collectors and Friends of the Phonograph
that prevents the writing of its final obituary.
Let's also give the Edison Phonograph
a tip of the hat by pointing out that not only are Edison
Phonographs still being played they are environmentally green machines.
QED The Edison Phonograph is
an environmentally friendly entertainment medium that still has
In that spirit, and with its
continued use and pop culture connections, I believe Phonographians
can proclaim the Edison Phonograph to be alive and "Green."