The Victrola™ makes a reappearance... and a discovery is made about "Victrola" in 2016

BED BATH & BEYOND catalogue, $69.99. June 9, 2016

Brookstone, on-line $59.99

I recently received a BED BATH & BEYOND catalog in the mail and saw the above ad for a Victrola™ portable turntable.

Being a Friend of the Phonograph I was naturally interested in a 2016 turntable that was being labelled a "Victrola."

The word "Victrola" originates from the name given to the internal horn talking machine that was introduced by the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1906. Moving the gramophone's horn inside a piece of cabinetry was designed to appeal to consumers who wanted aesthetics and recorded music for their home and the removal of a large horn protruding into their parlor.

The Victor-Victrola was a huge success and internal horn machines would become the new standard for how elegance and function could merge in cabinets. Later ads would even describe these talking machines as musical 'instruments' partly based on their newly refined appearance.

This Victrola 1919 advertisement with Caruso performing in the home illustrates the advertising approach and popularity of the Victrola.


The Victrola was so popular that in later years it became a generic term for referring to any old style record player (much like the adoption in the United States of all record players being called "Phonographs" even though Edison's "Phonograph" was a trade-marked name and originally a cylinder, tin-foil playing machine).

In language certain trade-marked names have become a generic term for a whole group (e.g., Kodak for cameras, Kleenex for facial tissues, Phonographs for all record players) with the Victrola included in that list.

The Radio Corporation of America bought the Victor Talking Machine Company in 1929 and continued to use the word Victrola for decades. RCA was taken over by GE in 1986 and broken up (see Wikipedia RCA Trademarks).

So that's a brief history of Victor's Victrola.

Getting back to the BED BATH & BEYOND advertisement which included a TM with the "Victrola™ Portable Turntable" and which triggered this PhonoLink, I was interested in who now owned this trademark and who was making this machine.

Brookstone also sells this "Vintage Bluetooth Turntable Victrola" and I did find in one of their ads a reference that this turntable is made by Innovative Technology. When Googled, I learned that Innovative Technology now apparently owns the Trademark for Victrola:

The Innovative Technology web site shows how their world of Victrolas goes beyond this 3-speed Vintage Bluetooth Turntable. And it also confirmed that they own the Trademark "Victrola.":

© 2016 innovative technology. All rights reserved. Victrola™, Bright Tunes™ and Justin™ word marks and logos are trademarks of Innovative Technology Electronics Corp.


Perhaps RCA or GE or someone after the 1986 RCA breakup let the Victrola TM lapse. Or perhaps Innovative Technology purchased the trademark. More research is required on this topic.

For myself, calling these record players "Victrola's" doesn't seem quite right.

But as part of phonographia, it is another example that "The Phonograph Lives!" and it does provide the opportunity to remind readers about the Victor Talking Machine Company and what the true Victrola gave to the world of home entertainment.


© 2016 innovative technology. All rights reserved. Victrola™, Bright Tunes™ and Justin™ word marks and logos are trademarks of Innovative Technology Electronics Corp.








Science Section, June 6, 2016

No Escape From Black Holes? Stephen Hawking Points to a Possible Exit

By Dennis Overbye

In this fascinating article about gravitational equations and how the universe works, "null infinity" and information that may or may not be lost in a black hole, the phonograph's vinyl record is used to help explain what's going on.

The following is an excerpt from the article by Dennis Overbye that includes "the wavy grooves in a vinyl record" as a way for non-scientists to understand a supertranslation's pattern and "clue pointing the way out of black holes."

The complete article can be read at this link:

“Null infinity is where light rays go if they are not trapped in a black hole,” Dr. Strominger tried to explain over coffee in Harvard Square recently.From this point of view, you can think of light rays on the surface of a black hole as a bundle of straws all pointing outward, trying to fly away at the speed of, of course, light.

Because of the black hole’s immense gravity, they are stuck. But the individual straws can slide inward or outward along their futile tracks, slightly advancing or falling back, under the influence of incoming material. When a particle falls into a black hole, it slides the straws of light back and forth, a process called a supertranslation.

That leaves a telltale pattern on the horizon, the invisible boundary that is the point of no return of a black hole — a halo of “soft hair,” as Dr. Strominger and his colleagues put it. That pattern, like the pixels on your iPhone or the wavy grooves in a vinyl record, contains information about what has passed through the horizon and disappeared.








BLACK HOLE BLUES and Other Songs from Outer Space

by Janna Levin Copyright © 2016

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space is a book by astrophysicist and writer Janna Levin about something truly amazing, namely, recording the sound of a gravitational wave.

In 1877, when Thomas Edison invented his Phonograph that could record and playback sound, it was an event that was considered a wonder, a miracle, magical, unbelievable. It was the beginning of the revolution of recorded sound - the "Wonder of the Nineteenth Century" created by the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

I don't know if recording the sound of a gravitational wave is more magical and awesome in 2016 than capturing the first recordings of the human voice. Perhaps over the last 150 years we have been prepared by all of the science and technological changes and we expect the unexpected.

But for me, trying to record the sound of a gravitational wave - a sound that could take a billion years to get here - is awesome, mind-bending, a great story and a must read.


The following is an excerpt from Chapter 1, "When Black Holes Collide" by Janna Levin that for me summarizes the awesome and epic nature of what has just happened:

"When black holes collide, they make a sound. No human has ever heard the sound of a gravitational wave. No instrument has indisputably recorded one."..."As much of this book is a chronicle of gravitational waves -- a sonic record of the history of the universe, a soundtrack to match the silent movie -- it is a tribute to the quixotic, epic, harrowing experimental endeavor, a tribute to a fool's ambition."






Share a Coke and a Song

May 2016

For decades there has been a ritual, or cultural phenomenon, for couples to designate an "Our Song" or an "Our Tune" when a song has a special memory associated with a particular time and place.

In 2016, Coca-Cola decided for their new marketing campaign to co-opt this emotional connection and stamp lyrics from popular songs on its packaging.

"Song lyrics strike an emotional chord in people, capturing what we are feeling while helping us express what we want to say,” said Joe Belliotti, head of global music marketing at Coca-Cola North America.

"We’re setting the summer to music to inspire and connect fans through the special moments that are created when they share a Coke," he added.

For Friends of the Phonograph this stamping of lyrics on cans of Coke adds a new meaning to what O. Henry in his 1904 "Cabbages and Kings" called "canned music" (describing phonograph recordings of the time).


This 2016 summer of music and sharing seems a bit transparent in Coke wanting to make song lyric connections the same as connecting "fans through the special moments that are created when they share a Coke".

Does an advertising campaign to "share a Coke and a Song' really make sharing a Coke the equivalent of a shared memory based on a song?

When a couple now designates a song as an "Our Song", is it now supposed to also include the memory of sharing a Coke?

And finally, are the original authors of these lyrics and ASCAP compensated by Coke for their lyrical contribution to this shared memory?

If not, why not?


To read about this new marketing campaign as reported by Rebecca Stewart on "The Drum", March 31, 2016, go to






PhonoLinks 2016

PayPal Signup / Logon / 2016 Information Page - Key "Assistance" from Phonographia Images

In presenting the advantages of using PayPal to buy items on EBay, notice that the examples of how to buy on Ebay utilize Phonographia and Smartphones:

Image 1: Turntable and stack of albums as background and a Pink Floyd vinyl album on the Smartphone ready to be purchased;

Image 2: a stack of albums on a table;

Image 3: a vinyl record on a turntable promoting "Buying and selling, made simple."

With EBay and PayPal the "world is your marketplace" -- just like the phonograph brought the world of entertainment to your home."











The 50 Most Influential Gadgets of All Time - May 3, 2016

The Phonograph ranked No. 6

See for TIME's list of the 50 most influential gadgets ever.


6. Victrola Record Player

Though the phonograph was invented in 1877, it was the Victor Talking Machine Company’s Victrola that first made audio players a staple in most people’s homes. The device’s amplifying horn was hidden inside a wooden cabinet, giving it the sleek look of a sophisticated piece of furniture. Records by classical musicians and opera singers were popular purchases for the device. Eventually, the Victor Talking Machine Company would be bought by RCA, which would go on to become a radio and television giant.

Victrola Brand X Pictures/Getty Images







2016 Nissan Altima - "Born to Be" TV commercial

For Friends of the Phonograph, the flashback scene of playing a record player is the best 4 seconds of the Nissan commercial. Note the boy on the album cover is the image from the previous scene of the boy cannon-balling into the swimming pool. There is an historic relationship between a photo album and a record album but this scene goes one step further, nicely combining those two worlds and transitioning an image into a record album and then playing his "record" on a phonograph.

See full commercial at





"Your idea of a good time is different from everyone elses."








2016 Record Store Day - April 16




Record Store Day poster from Good Records, Dallas, Texas




Disney 2016 Record Store Day exclusive Vinyl






Hi-Fi one of 95 Gadgets That Changed the World

MSN Lifestyle webpage, February 29, 2016

Slide Number 71/95 SLIDES © Provided by Popular Mechanics


The 1950s boom in high-fidelity gear revealed a new breed of consumer--gadget buffs masquerading as music purists. The first integrated hi-fi receiver, the Festival D1000, was designed by Sidney Harman and Bernard Kardon of Harman/Kardon in 1954.







Phonograph not on the Fossils List

Chartoon, Time Magazine, February 22, 2016


When viewing this cartoon some may wonder why the Phonograph is not included in this Fossils List. Here are three possibilities from Friends of the Phonograph:

1) The Phonograph was not included because "talking machines" predate the midtechnolithic period

2) Vinyl records have made a resurgence and aren't obsolete

3) The "Phonograph Lives"!






The Democratic Debate, February 11, 2016 - PBS

Sanders..."sounded like a broken record"

One of our favorite phonograph language legacy's in the English language was heard again in USA Today's report the day after the February 11 Democratic debate summarizing Winners and Losers of the debate with this comment for Senator Sanders under the Loser's category:

"Sanders, at times during that first hour, sounded like a broken record -- citing millionaires and billionaires and Wall Street to explain almost anything he was asked."

The "sounded like a broken record" even had its own link to Tweets on this topic, e.g.,





PhonoLinks 2016 - On This Day

February 11, 1847

Happy 169th Birthday to Thomas Alva Edison


Friends of the Phonograph annually reminder everyone that February 11 is the official day to "eat a piece of pie and drink a glass of milk" in honor of Thomas Alva Edison's birthday.

Although it's always an option to gather around a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday to Tom, Friends of the Phonograph are continuing their Edison birthday tradition of enjoying pie with a single birthday candle and a glass of milk.

Apple pie is the official birthday pie in honor of Edison's favorite pie. However, any slice of pie and/or libation should be enjoyed because for Friends of the Phonograph this day is ultimately another way to celebrate the Phonograph.

Enjoy the day and remember the Phonograph!

Movie still from the 1940 MGM film "Edison the Man" with Spencer Tracy and Rita Johnson (in Edison's laboratory).


"Edison the Man" advertisement in Saturday Evening Post featuring apple pie, a glass of milk and the Edison tinfoil Phonograph (known as the "Brady" Phonograph).

Although Edison's love of pie is well known to Friends of the Phonograph and was captured in the 1940 movie Edison the Man, many people don't know that Edison had a very defined philosophy about eating.

Laurie Carlson writes about Edison's eating habits in Thomas Edison for Kids - His Life and Ideas and notes the following: "He took pride in eating small amounts at meals and believed that Americans could cut down their food intake by two-thirds". Quoting Edison: "They do the work of a three-horse-power engine and consume the fuel which should operate 50-horse-power engines."

"What was Edison's favorite food for most of his life? Apple dumplings, or apple pie with a glass of milk."

So when you celebrate Edison's birthday this year with pie you can pay tribute to his belief in eating small amounts by asking for what we called, when I was growing up, a "sliver" of pie.

And then, as was my personal habit, you can follow up 10 minutes later with the phrase "I'll take another sliver, please."

Happy Birthday Tom!







PhonoLinks 2016

Kentucky Fried Chicken Hot and Spicy on a Turntable

January 17, 2016

KFC Nashville Hot and Spicy chicken is placed on the phonograph turntable, the turntable rotates and the chicken 'flames" showing how hot it is. "But not that hot" says the Colonel.

Apparently KFC has found a new use for phonographs, updating turntables to cook chicken with settings on the turntable of "Smoky", "Crispy" and "Spicy". To watch this commercial Click HERE.

The Phonograph Lives!




The State of Kentucky Fried Chicken Address

Found in February 2016 but apparently released in May 2015

This record player and a Colonel Sanders record album are in the opening image of the KFC television ad featuring yet another version of a Colonel Sanders who announces that he has been gone for awhile and "boy howdy, have things changed since the Colonel’s been gone!

To watch this commercial Click HERE.






PhonoLinks 2016

CBS News January 10, 2016

Almanac: The 45 RPM record

Elvis Presley-autographed 45 RPM records are displayed at a Chicago auction house in this 2009 file photo. RCA Victor unveiled the new breed of phonograph record on January 10, 1949, and it became the standard for Top 40 hits and the ubiquitous jukebox. / Scott Olson/Getty Images

The following is the transcript from the CBS News Almanac report -

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: January 10th, 1949, 67 years ago today ... the day RCA Victor unveiled a new breed of phonograph record -- the 45.

Just seven inches across, with a one-and-a-half-inch hole in the middle, the new record played at 45 revolutions per minute, with greater fidelity and clarity than the old 78 rpm record.

"Listen, compare, and you, too, will agree that RCA Victor's 45 RPM record is the finest and best ever made," said one record company promo.

Not everyone agreed -- including the folks at arch-rival Columbia Records, which was promoting a new record of its own, which played at 33 1/3rd rpm.

Said Columbia's chairman: "We are unable to fathom the purpose of the records revolving at 45 RPM."

Though Columbia couldn't fathom it, a generation or two of American young people certainly DID.

With its small size and modest price, the 45 became THE standard for Top 40 hit songs, not to mention a mainstay for the malt shop jukebox.

From the '50s through the '60s ... from Elvis to The Beatles and beyond ... millions of American teens first played their favorite songs on a 45.

Eventually, however, technology turned against the pint-sized record. Cassette tapes, CDs, and online streaming services all eclipsed the 45 (and its 33 1/3rd big brother as well), relegating vinyl records of all types to that most dreaded of categories: music your parents -- even your grandparents -- listened to.

But old-style record lovers, take heart. There's a bit of a vinyl revival currently underway, with sales of 33 1/3 LPs up 52 percent between 2013 and 2014.

Proof positive that what goes around ... comes around!






PhonoLinks 2016


January 1, 2016

Dillard's Shoe Display, January 1, 2016


Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder, 33 1/3 vinyl records and album covers and laser disc provide ambience for selling shoes.





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