Removing the Horn from the Room


In August of 1906 a significant change took place that would refine and redefine talking the home. A new product-line called the Victor-Victrola was introduced and aesthetically it helped the talking machine to more easily find its place in the home. The talking machine's external horn was gone -- moved inside the cabinet -- and in so doing the Victrola in popular culture became fine furniture, a musical instrument and a trademark that would become a generic term for all talking machines, like Kodak for cameras and later Kleenex for tissues.


This lovely 1908 poster advertising the Edison Phonograph shows Edison's attempt at elegance for his cylinder phonograph with the artist Guernsey Moore appealing to the popular culture interest in Japanese culture that had developed in the 1880's for Japanese prints, and parasols and paper lanterns. This image is particularly interesting because it included a flowered horn, something for which Edison's own dealers would complain about since Edison didn't offer flowered horns as standard equipment so that this horn is not something you would see in the Edison Stores.

With the introduction of the Victor-Victrola, however, flowered horns would be the least of Edison's challenges. Internal horn machines would soon dominate the market and period piece phonographs would become highly advertised options in the late teens and 1920's. Advertisements showing wealthy homes would be displayed as "suiting the music to the room." These musical instruments would now be "worthy of a place in any home."


Victor Talking Machine Company, 1910



Victor Talking Machine Company, 1913



"Worthy of a place in any home." Period Grafonola - Italian Renaissance and Adam Designs, The Ladies' Home Journal, October 1918



Period Grafonola - Chinese Chippendale, The Ladies' Home Journal, March 1919



Period Grafonola - Queen Anne, The Literary Digest, February 8, 1919



Period Grafonola - Louis XVI Design 1919



Italian Renaissance Milano, Sonora 1921



Brunswick first by "achieving perfect phonographic turns its talent to combining fine music with fine furniture." 1922




Brunswick - a noteworthy combination of fine music with fine furniture, 1922




Aeolian-Vocalion (early Georgian Period) advertisement, 1923



Aeolian-Vocalion (Quenn Anne Period) advertisement, 1923



Aeolian-Vocalion (Elizabethan Period) advertisement, 1923



Brunswick Brochure, 1920



Brunswick Brochure, 1920



Brunswick Brochure, 1920



"Finer phonographs are unknown." Brunswick Brochure, 1920



Christmas Message from the World's Greatest Artists, Victrola 1919



"The Victrola -- the only instrument that brings the world's greatest artists into your home," Victrola Brochure, 1919



"The finest gift of all!" "The most brilliant opera house in the world can offer no such great company of artists as that shown above...Victrola" 1924



Edison Period Furniture, 1919



Custom Victrolas available, 1924