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History of Phonograms, 1857-1900



Recorded music for entertainment starts finding response by the public. The demand for recordings gave the incentive for investments in new technologies by the newly-formed record companies


Edison's Phonograph and Bell-Tainter Graphophone are in competition. The phonograph seems to be more popular


Forefathers of the juke-box with great appeal to the public created a demand for more phonograms, mainly for comic monologues


The products of Edison's Phonograph and Bell-Tainter Graphophone (a company created by Chichester Bell, brother of Alexander Graham Bell, and Charles Tainter) were used as contract dictation equipment. The entertaining use of these products was not considered of commercial value


Berliner developed a successful method of afterwards transition of a groove with audio information on a record. He also developed a method of mass production of copies of a prototype record


Edison is awarded a patent by the USA for a wax covered recording cylinder. This set the end of the tin foil cylinder


Emile Berliner recordedPater Noster (“Lord’s Prayer”) on an Edison’s cylinder. The prototype recording is preserved in BBC’s offices in London


Edison invented the use of compressed air amplifiers to deal with the low sound volume problem during the reproduction. British Horace Short and C.A. Parsons achieved the manufacture of such amplifiers, the Auxetophones, that were finally used in other applications


- In April, another French Charles Cros, poet and inventor of the color photographic development, proposed the improvement of Scott’s method with photoengraving of the trace on metal, with the possibility of tracing the model resulting in the reproduction of the initial sound

- In July, Thomas Alva Edison invented a method of recording and reproducing sound following a method different than the one of Scott and Cros. He applied for a patent in the UK and on December 24th he made the same application in the USA that included the talking appliances and the sound recorders that later became known as phonographs. The first phonographs used cylinders covered with a tin foil


French Leon Scott creates the phonautograph that transformed a variable air pressure to a visible trace on asmoked cylinder with the use of a needle attached on a membrane. This sound recording could not be reproduced