Gramophone - History of Gramophone
Today music can be commonly listened to on phones, computers, and mp3 players, but in the past, music recording wasn't simple or easy. Thomas Edison attempted the first design of a music recording and playing device in 1877. He termed his invention a "phonograph", and it worked by recording sounds on round cylinders. However, the quality of the production was extremely poor, and each recording could only be played once.
Improving on Edison's design, Alexander Graham Bell invented the first graphophone, which worked by using wax cylinders. Although the sound quality was much improved compared to the phonograph, each cylinder had to be recorded separately. This prevented mass production of the same recording, limiting its functional use.
Therefore, in 1887 Emile Berliner patented the first successful sound recorder and called it the gramophone. Unlike the previous two attempts, the gramophone did not record on cylinders, and instead used flat records made of glass. When recording, a small groove was etched into the disks' round surface. These grooves could then be placed underneath the arm on the gramophone, where a needle would read and transmit the sound vibrations to the speaker.
Finally, mass-production of records was possible through the use of a Gramophone, and numerous disks were made from each recording. By 1894, Berliner had created the United States Gramophone Company, which recoded and manufactured hundreds of records each year.
The gramophone continued to be a strong presence in the recording industry and throughout households worldwide until the arrival of World War II. More advanced record players were developed in the 1910s and 20s that exceeded the capabilities of the original Gramophones. Today, as the music recording industry continues to improve, and music devices become more high-tech, it is important to remember the gramophone as the first music-recording device that was a pillar of excellence and led the industry to its modern-day success.