The Phonograph's 142nd Birthday
celebration was held on December 7 and it was noted that on this
day, 142 years earlier and on the day after Edison had completed
his Phonograph, Edison took his tin-foil playing machine to the
offices of Scientific American for a triumphant demonstration
where the Phonograph "introduced itself." An account of this meeting
and a description of the talking machine was published in the December
22, 1877 issue of Scientific American.
This was also a significant year
for Phonographia.com and Friends of the Phonograph as it
is the first year that I know of that if you said "Hey Google,
Is December 6th the Birthday of the Phonograph?" the voice
from Google says "According to Phonographia, on December
6 at Edison's Menlo Park, New Jersey Laboratory, Thomas Alva Edison's
Phonograph was said to be "finished" and ready to be heard
by the world."
The birthday party this year continued
the tradition of 'chocolate' and wine, and the triple fudge mini-round
brownies were again a two degrees of separation reminder for Friends
of the Phonograph that in 1903 there was actually a phonograph
made by the Stollwerck
Chocolate Company in Germany that was designed to play foiled wrapped
disk records made of chocolate!
The birthday party's invitation
included the expectation that the party would also be educational
so naturally there were some phonographia presentations. The video
The Phonograph and Santa included period piece illustrations
and an excerpt from Edison's 1905 movie "The Night Before Christmas"
by Edwin S. Porter; and a music video of "Happy Birthday to
the Phonograph" was also featured.
Phonograph and Santa
Postcards, ads and
“Hello from Santa”
The live birthday party singing
of "Happy Birthday to the Phonograph" was enthusiastic
and pretty much on-key and the candles coded as 142 were successfully
blown out by the three youngest members of Friends of the Phonograph
(and one elder Phonographian).
Another brief piece of education
included the history of writing letters to Santa in the United States
and also some examples of other early possibilities of communicating
with Santa were shared like the series of postcards from 1903 showing
Santa sending telegrams to children so that they knew what his schedule
was going to be.
The music video of "Happy
Birthday to the Phonograph" of course included photographs
of Edison and the original tinfoil phonograph and the audio was
also heard of Edison's later re-creation of his 'first words spoken
on the phonograph, a little piece of practical poetry, 'Mary had
a little lamb...'"
The open house was from 2:00 PM
to 5:00 PM with final guests not leaving until after 7:00 so the
consensus seemed to be that the Birthday party for Edison's 142
year-old Phonograph was a success.