There was a time before the telephone, the bulb and telegraph. But it certainly was a lot different than the time after it, the time which we are familiar with. Here’s how Thomas Alva Edison came up with the phonograph, and showed people how they could listen to their favorite songs again, and again, and again.
The phonograph, more commonly known as the gramophone, is another one of Edison’s wonders, and this, as a matter of fact, came a little before his most famous invention, the incandescent bulb. He came up with the concept and a working model for a phonograph in the year 1877, and it was the first of its kind at the time. It was widely used between the 1870s and the 1980s to record sound, as well as to listen to recorded sound. It not only became a popular form of entertainment, but also an extremely useful way of teaching, and also a way of storing valuable information.
The idea of the phonograph came into being when Edison was working on two other interventions – the telegraph and the telephone. The idea was based on the theme that said that if sound could be transmitted, then there must be a way to record it too. This led to the birth of the phonograph, which became hugely popular, and also led to the creation of the Edison Phonograph Company. The term “phonograph”, however, was coined by another inventor, FB Fenby. Phonographs became so popular that people started opening phonograph parlors at various places, where people could sit at a desk, speak through a tube, and for the price of a nickel, they could order a selection.They were mass produced for a while before the craze died out.
The very first phonograph consistant of a grooved cylinder that had a tin foil wrapped around it. Sound was recorded as indentations on the tin foil. A needle or stylus was used to make the indentations. The very first lines to be recorded on the phonograph were those of the famous nursery rhyme, “Mary had a Little Lamb”. This invention was further improved by Graham Bell and two others – Chichester Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter, who came up with the concept of wax coated cylinders for the recording of sound. The phonograph was later modified, with the use of discs instead of cylinders. The stylus would trace a spiral path on these discs to record sound. This may be considered as the oldest form of the decks that DJs use today.
After the birth of the Edison Phonograph Company, a lot of events occurred, including the company being taken over by a businessman, Jesse. H. Lippincott, and later declaration of bankruptcy by Edison himself, which made sure he got back the rights to his invention. After this, he came up with another modification of the phonograph in 1895, known as the Spring Motor Phonograph, which he was not allowed to sell because of his declaration of bankruptcy. He also designed the Edison Home Phonograph in 1896, which was followed by the manufacture and exhibition of the Edison Standard Phonograph in 1898.