Since 1980 friends and family
have celebrated the Phonograph's birthday on (or near) December
6th (See Why December 6th? for a summary
of Phonograph Timeline events and later first day covers honoring
the invention of the Phonograph.
In the 1980's an Oakland-Emeryville-Berkeley
group of friends(1) celebrated
its birthday with food and artistry inspired by the phonograph.
Creations such as cakes and cookies shaped like phonograph records,
phonograph inspired pottery and glass records, a tapestry and needlepoint
sampler, and other unique presentations have highlighted birthday
Over the years phonograph birthday
venues and menus have varied. But consistently friends have enjoyed
the event and it has always included a singing of "Happy Birthday
to the Phonograph."
Doug and James,
1981 Birthday Party
Besides the traditional
alphabet, Kathy Aiken's sampler features the first four lines of
the nursery rhymn "Mary Had a Little Lamb", said to be the first
words spoken by Edison's tin-foil Phonograph on December 6, 1877.
The Sign for
1988 Birthday Party
This wooden sign
was created by two charter members of the original Friends of
Phonography. Despite a revision to the name this sign continues
to be annually hung at Friends of the Phonograph birthday
parties. Thanks Debbie and Joellen for your artistic work!
for 1990 Phonograph
Axel and Betty
Boilesen presented a framed Victor record of James Whitcomb Riley
reciting his poem "Out to Old Aunt Mary's" for the 1990
Birthday party. You can listen to Harry E. Humphrey performing Riley's
poem on an Edison Blue
Amberol record 2539 released in March 1915. Humphrey's voice
is much clearer than the Victor record made by Riley who was declining
and would pass in 1916.
- A Celebration
horn in hand the message "Remember the Phonograph!" was
trumpeted on the Black Rock Desert in 1990. Hopefully Friends
of the Phonograph annually are proclaiming that same message.
It's a revolution still turning.
Edison Phonograph Birthday Party Photo Album
The original "Friends"
sign is still hung outside our house each December 6th. Inside,
the Phonograph Holiday Tree is annually displayed.
When the day
is cold and dreary,
When the day
is warm and cheery,
When you want
a hearty laugh,
has invented many things;
But my favorite
invention is the one that sings.
It can also talk
and whistle and laugh --
Evening Star jingle competition entry as reported by the Edison
Phonograph Monthly, December 1907
Friends of the Phonograph