Definition of the Phonograph



What is a Phonograph?

Wikipedia defines the term phonograph ("sound writer") as "derived from the Greek words phono- meaning "sound" or "voice" and transliterated as phone) and graphos (meaning "writing" and transliterated as graphe). Similar related terms gramophone and graphophone have similar root meanings".

"The coinage, particularly the use of the -graph root, may have been influenced by the then-existing words phonographic and phonography, which referred to a system of phonetic shorthand; in 1852 The New York Times carried an advertisement for "Professor Webster's phonographic class", and in 1859 the New York State Teachers' Association tabled a motion to "employ a phonographic recorder" to record its meetings."

The Phonograph was originally Edison's trade-name for his sound recording and playback invention that would generically be called different things at different times in different countries, e.g., Gramophone, Victrola, talking machine, record player, hi-fi, high-fidelity system, stereo, etc. See Wikipedia for a detailed list of phonograph terminology by country.

This site uses the definition of Phonograph from Timothy C. Fabrizio and George F. Paul's book, A World of Antique Phonographs:

PHONOGRAPH: Originally, the name given by Edison to the sound recording/reproducing device he invented in 1877. In American usage, the term has been applied to sound reproducing equipment in general, regardless of age or type of record played.

Additionally, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides this definition:

PHONOGRAPH: An instrument for reproducing sounds by means of the vibration of a stylus or needle following a spiral groove on a resolving disc or cylinder.