Connections to 21st Century Phonographia



Welcome to PhonoLinks - 2011

PhonoLinks™ are connections to 21st century phonographia. The following PhonoLinks are from 2011 and feature contemporary phonograph related references found in newspapers, magazines, advertisements, the intranet, and even phonographia seen while simply walking down the street.




PhonoLinks 2011

Throughout the history of recorded songs there is often a level of significance that a record can create for the listener, the memory that goes with a song, the attribute often called the "Our Song" phenomena that makes that song special throughout a life-time. The following NPR Winter Song series is a collection of stories told by musicians, writers and listeners about songs that evoke winter for them. On December 1, 2011 the first of those stories was told by Ann Patchett to All Things Considered host Melissa Block about winter and "California Dreamin".

To listen to this "California Dreamin" related interview click Listen Now to go to the NPR site. (All Things Considered, December 1, 2011 [4 min 51 sec])

To listen to Winter Songs: Bill T. Jones Picks Schubert's 'Winterreise" interview click Listen Now to go to the NPR site. (All Things Considered, December 13, 2011 [8 min 20 sec])

December 1, 2011 - All Things Considered

ATC launches our "Winter Songs" series today with a selection from the author Ann Patchett, whose own biography ó including a move from California when she was six years old ó inspired her pick. Take a listen and then tell us your winter song and a story that goes with it. Put your suggestion in the comments, or write to us here with the words "winter songs" in your subject line. And yes, we'll put some of you on air.

The songs we turn to during winter months are as distinct from the light, joyous anthems of summer as tank tops and shorts are from the mittens and scarves we pull out of the closet when a chill creeps into the air. This season, we'll ask musicians, writers and listeners to tell us about a song that evokes winter for them, along with a memory or story that goes with it.

To kick off the series, All Things Considered host Melissa Block spoke to novelist Ann Patchett, author of The Patron Saint of Liars, Bel Canto and Run, among others. She shared a story about the song that helped her cope with her parents' divorce, and with moving to a strange new place.

When Patchett, her sister and their recently divorced mother left their home in California a week before Ann's sixth birthday to move to Nashville, Tenn., The Mamas and the Papas' "California Dreamin'" took on a new level of significance."






PhonoLinks 2011

December 28, 2011 -

Team uses high-tech optical technique to pull sound from 125 year old recordings.

Scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have succeeded in using 3D optical scanning technology to effectively lift the voices from 125 year old recordings created by researchers working in Alexander Graham Bellís Volta laboratory. The recordings were made on various media as researchers tried to improve the sound quality of Thomas Edisonís recently invented phonograph.

Bell, made famous by his invention of the telephone, was working with a team of researchers in his Volta laboratory in the 1880ís in Washington D.C. and as a precaution against having his ideas stolen by competing teams, periodically sent samples of the results of his and his teamís efforts to the Smithsonian Institute, also in Washington, for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, devices to play the recordings were not sent along as well, which meant the recordings sat unheard in storage for a century and a quarter.

Now however, thanks to a special optical scanning technique, those voices can once again be heard. Restoration specialists Carl Haber and Earl Cornell working with digital conversion specialists and museum curators, used a hardware/software system called IRENE/3D, to first take high resolution images of the spinning discs and then to remove errors introduced by damage to the discs or cylinders. They then finished by mimicking a stylus as it moved over the media, on a computer, reproducing the originally recorded voices. Using such a system, the early recordings can be played without anything actually touching the original media, which could conceivably be damaged in the process.

Using the technique, the team was able to hear human voices reciting Shakespeare, or reading from a book or newspaper. Itís not known if any of the voices heard is actually Bell, but historians believe Volta Laboratory only had three inventors: Bell, Bellís cousin Chichester and Charles Sumner Tainter. Thus it seems possible that one or more of the voices is his.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article.

Click HERE to go to the Library of Congress and see other recordings that are available from the Smithsonian Volta Laboratory Collection.





PhonoLinks 2011

November 2011 - Old Navy advertisement

Not a Hoodie with a Gramophone!

Here's the text from Old Navy:

Navy Funnovations Inc. has done it again with a rocknology breakthrough just in time for the holidays! It's Techno World! Tees you can play and hoodies you can listen to. Tis the season for giving gadgets -- gadgets you can wear that is. Techno World $15-$25. Right now only at Old Navy.


Click HERE to go watch the Old Navy Commercial on YouTube





PhonoLinks 2011

Winter 2011 Catalogue

Acoustic Sounds Catalogue

This on-line music store includes a growing number of vinyl records in addition to its CDs, DVDs, SACDs, and music equipment offerings. So while it is not surprising that a music store would feature a turn-of-the-century Gramophone on one of its quarterly catalogue covers, for a Friend of the Phonograph it's still fun to see.





PhonoLinks 2011

November 15, 2011 - CIO Magazine

Click on the Gramophone image to enlarge the final page of this magazine promoting the Library of Congress' National Jukebox.





PhonoLinks 2011

November 2011 - Anthropologie Catalogue

iVictrola, Upside Down



The following describes the speaker system offered for sale in the 2011 Anthropologia catalogue that dramatically brings two era's together. A great image showing the continuum of the phonograph and its legacy.


iVictrola, Upside Down Online Exclusive style # A23569890

DETAILS Designer Matt Richmond of Made-Craft has harnessed the acoustics of the proto-speaker system - the victrola horn - and repurposed it for the modern era. Set your iPhone or other music player with external speakers into the hand-carved walnut base, and let your tunes waft from the vintage Magnavox horn. The sound amplification is completely, ingeniously acoustic; the dock is not plugged-in or battery powered. * One of a kind * Fits all iPhone models * Antique Magnavox horn, carved American walnut * Wipe with soft, dry cloth * 13.5"H, 9.75"W, 12"D * Handmade in USA











PhonoLinks 2011

August 2011 - San Francisco

Turntable icon welcomes visitors to Yerba Buena Neighborhood

Banners on lightposts in downtown San Francisco include a turntable stylized to represent dining. The Yerba Buena website states the following: "Yerba Buena is a San Francisco neighborhood of artists, patrons, urbanistas, fashionistas, movie lovers, night clubbers, shop keepers, score keepers, entrepreneurs, restauranteurs, worker bees, retirees, technologists and mixologists."







PhonoLinks 2011

August 2011 - Fort Bragg, CA

Nipper in a new advertisement for Radio Shack and True Value Hardware

This storefront on Highway 101 in Ft. Bragg, CA, represents another round for Nipper and the gramophone in marketing.



PhonoLinks 2011

July 15, 2011 - USA Today

Recording may be Edison's first talking doll

By Josh Lederman, Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. ó Scientists using advanced imaging technology have recovered a 123-year-old recording made by Thomas Edison that is believed to be the world's first attempt at a talking doll and may mark the dawn of the American recording industry.

Thomas Alva Edison is shown in his laboratory in West Orange, N.J., in this undated photo. J. Walter Thompson, AP

In the sound recording, a woman can be heard reciting a verse of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Historians believe Edison hired the woman to make the recording less than two years before he unsuccessfully put the first talking doll on the market.

"Based on the date of fall 1888, it is the oldest American-made recording of a woman's voice that we can listen to today," said Patrick Feaster, a historian at Indiana University in Bloomington.

To read the entire article go to this LINK


PhonoLinks 2011

Vinyl Records spin back into vogue, February 24, 2011

By Brian Passey, USA TODAY

CEDAR CITY, Utah ó As both a music lover and record store owner, Tim Cretsinger is excited about the recent resurgence of vinyl record albums.

The old days are making a comeback.

According to recent Nielsen SoundScan numbers, vinyl was the fastest-growing musical format in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold, the format's best year since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

Vinyl's increase in popularity is providing a beacon of hope for independent record stores ó an industry that has suffered with the increase of digital downloads this past decade.

When Cretsinger moved his business from Keiser, Ore., to Cedar City in 2000 there were two other record stores in the college town of about 28,000. Now, the closest independent record store is in Las Vegas, 175 miles away.

"Vinyl seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel for those of us who have hung in there," he says. "It's kind of a surprising light at the end of the tunnel. It's incredibly exciting."

Not only have vinyl album sales picked up, but the interest in record players has increased as well. Cretsinger said he got tired of directing his customers to other businesses where they could purchase turntables, so he began offering a small selection at his store in January.

Like Groovacious, Plan 9 Music stores in Richmond and Charlottesville, Va., are fairly new to the turntable market, but have offered vinyl records since the first store opened in 1981, says owner Jim Bland. Although he never quit selling vinyl, Bland says sales were slow for many years as CDs dominated the market. However, as CD sales plummeted in recent years, Plan 9 Music found itself with some open space on the floor. That empty space is now back to the basics.

"It's filled in with vinyl," Bland says. As a way to promote their businesses, 700 independent record stores across the nation have joined together since 2008 to celebrate Record Store Day on the third Saturday of April. Record Store Day regularly features limited-edition CDs and vinyl records available only at independent retailers.

"Last year all the cool stuff was vinyl," Bland says. "People were lining up to get it."

Like Record Store Day itself, Cretsinger says, listening to music on a vinyl record is an event. It forces listeners to sit down at a turntable and listen to the music, giving them an opportunity to enjoy the cover art and read the liner notes.

"There's something organic and historical about playing music that way," he says. "It sounds better." The scratches and pops often associated with the vinyl sound are all part of the "warmth" Cretsinger and other record store owners such as John Kunz, of Waterloo Records in Austin, say vinyl offers.

Kunz says CDs are more convenient than vinyl and easier to manage, so they had their place in the music industry for a time. However, Kunz sees a change in his customers' taste from the digital sound of Internet downloads to what the classic vinyl format offers.

"I think there was a pendulum swing back to the analog sound," he says. "It's sound waves rather than zeroes and ones emulating a sound wave." Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium in Portland, Ore., says vinyl aficionados treat their passion as art, as opposed to a product.

"People didn't interact with CDs the way they did with vinyl," Currier says. "I think people lost that interaction they had with the vinyl." The music lovers buying these records aren't necessarily those who grew up with them in the 1960s and 1970s. Record store owners across the nation say teenagers and young adults constitute a large portion of their vinyl customers.

"There are tweens, teens and twentysomethings looking through Mom and Dad's record collection," he says. "All of a sudden Mom and Dad are a lot cooler than the kid might have expected."

Currier says it's almost like vinyl appreciation skipped a generation. Now purchasing vinyl is "cool" for younger customers because it's "retro." For the youngest of the customers, it might even be something their parents never experienced.

Bland agrees: "It's cool; it's hip. My 14-year-old's even getting into it." Among Cretsinger's customers at Groovacious in Cedar City is Matthew Montgomery, a 25-year-old Web developer, freelance music journalist and student at Southern Utah University. Montgomery says he began to seriously get into vinyl about two years ago, and now it's practically his exclusive musical format. He says there is an "aesthetic difference" in the sound of vinyl records compared with the digital downloads purchased by many others of his generation.

"I think vinyl is incredibly exciting," Montgomery says. "To see a resurgence in it is beautiful." Montgomery says the act of walking into a record store to purchase his music is part of vinyl's allure as well. "To me that represents a cultural idea that is incredibly attractive," he says. "It's a place you can explore and learn and talk to people." While vinyl sales help independent stores stand apart from nationwide retail chains, even Best Buy seems to have noticed the popularity of vinyl records.

About 100 Best Buy stores now carry a small selection of new and classic albums following a test period that began in the fall of 2008, says Best Buy spokeswoman Erin Bix. Best Buy also offers 14,000 vinyl titles online.


PhonoLinks 2011

The Google Doodle for February 11, 2011

In honor of Thomas Edison's 164th birthday this Google Doodle was posted.

Links related to the Google Doodle and Edison's 164th birthday included the following:

Google Doodle celebrates Thomas Edison's birthday

USA Today

By Emily Banks, Mashable

It is probably safe to say that without Thomas Edison, technology ó and life, in general ó as we know it would be completely different. From the light bulb, to the phonograph, to the motion picture camera, and his hundreds of other patents, Edison's inventions have shaped our world.

And today, February 11, the inventor and scientist is celebrated on Google's homepage with a special Doodle for what would be his 164th birthday.

The Doodle showcases animated sketches of some of the above-mentioned inventions, including a glowing incandescent bulb and whirring type-writing machine. The handful of Edison-inspired sketches in the Doodle are only a small fraction of the inventor's patents.

Earlier this week Google celebrated Jules Verne's birthday with an interactive Doodle.


PhonoLinks 2011

PC Magazine

Google Doodle celebrates Thomas Edison's birthday

Days after honoring author Jules Verne, Google has rolled out a homepage doodle in honor of Thomas Edison's 164th birthday.

While the image is not interactive like the Verne doodle, it does feature some moving parts and a glowing light bulb.

Edison, an inventor who was dubbed the "Wizard of Menlo Park" (now Edison, NJ), is most famous for his contributions to electric light. Though he did not come up with the concept on his own, he built on the contributions of others to create a lightbulb that was practical for home use.

Throughout his life, however, Edison was awarded more than 1,000 patents, creating everything from the phonograph to an automatic vote recorder.

Edison was born in Ohio in 1847 and died on October 18, 1931.

Earlier this week, Google unveiled an interactive doodle to honor the 183rd birthday of "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" author Jules Verne. The image proved so popular that Google created a standalone version of the doodle.

In November, Google also honored author Robert Louis Stevenson's 160th birthday with a doodle that featured a pirate, pirate ship, the coveted chest of gold, and the always ominous skull and crossbones flag.


PhonoLinks 2011

The Washington Post displayed the following photograph courtesy of the Library of Congress:

Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 02/11/2011 Thomas Edison: The photograph By Elizabeth Flock

Latest photograph of President and Mrs. Roosevelt and their children at Oyster Bay. Latest Photograph of Thomas A. Edison, Mrs. Edison and their Children. (LOC) On the anniversary of Thomas Edison's 164th birthday, our friends over at the Library of Congress bring you a photograph of Thomas, his wife, and children, that appeared in the New York Tribune August 25, 1907. Edison was 60.






Click here for PhonoLinks 2008 - 2010


Click here for PhonoLinks 2007


Click here for PhonoLinks 2006 et al.



Phonograph References

Canadian Antique Phonograph Society

Cylinder Preservation and Digitazation Society - UC Santa Barbara Library

Edison References - Papers, Books and Museums - Smithsonian List

Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry

History of the Edison Cylinder Phonograph - Library of Congress

Michigan Antique Phonograph Society

Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links

List of Phonograph collection websites - courtesy of The Montana Phonograph Company




Listen to Recordings

Edison Diamond Disc Recordings - Library of Congress

Cylinder Recordings -

Cylinder Recordings: A Primer - Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, UC Santa Barbara

The Internet Museum of Flexi / Cardboard / Oddity Records - Cereal box records, promo, novelty and assorted plastic and paper records are on view and playable.

WFMU Podcasting features recordings Edison left behind in two weekly shows: The Antique Phonograph Music Program and the Thomas Edison's Attic archives. (See Below)

Cylinder Radio - Streaming radio links of cylinder recordings, UC Santa Barbara

Song of the South Records - Specializing in Walt Disney Song of the South memorabilia. This link goes to Christian Willis's "Records" section of his site.


Phonographs in Museums


The following are obviously a small sampling of phonographs in museums. It's a recent project that should be its own website.

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History - Phonographia's visit to Washington, D.C., March 2002

Pioneer Village, Minden, NE - March 2002

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, July 2006

PhonoGalerie - Paris exhibition store featuring the history of recorded sound

Edison National Historic Site - National Park Service

Edison Phonograph Museum - Quebec, Canada

Museum of Radio & Technology, Huntington, WV

Mr. Gramophone - The Domenic DiBernardo collection

Montana Phonograph Company


Go to and search "Lejo DJ" to watch this gramophone playing DJ.



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