phonograph gramophone graphophone columbia victor brunswick information record cylinder needles needle stylus

 

While Edison’s company was producing the cylinder records, the first in 1887. Berliner Gramophone was the first company to produce disc “flat records” by Emile Berliner in 1889 and sold in Europe. These records were only five inches in diameter and were leased to toy companies that made toy phonographs.

A quick reference to Edison's cylinder records: (Minutes/dates manufactured)
Edison Gold-Moulded Cylinders (2 Minute) (1902-1912)
Edison Grand Opera Cylinders (2 Minute)
Edison Moulés Sur Or & Edison Goldguss Walze (European, 2 Minute)
Edison Chinese Cylinders (2 Minutes)
Edison Amberol Cylinders (4 Minute) (1908-1912)
Edison Blue Amberol Cylinders (4 minute) 1912-1929)

In 1893, Berliner commercialize the record. His company offered the first 7 inch disc in 1894 on the Berliner Gramophone label. From there on, many companies took on the flat disc as the standard record to use for their phonographs. Edison, on the other hand, kept his cylinder records in production for many years thereafter.

Edison would later create his "Diamond Disc", a vertical cut flat disc record. This record was not playable on machines other than his own brand. Diamond Discs are easy to recognize. They're about 1/4 inch thick, 10 inches in diameter and usually have Edison's Face embossed or printed on a paper label. See below.

Edison later produced his own Needle Cut 78rpm record discs to compete with Victor and others, but by this time, his company lost a huge share of the market.

 

Easy to understand timeline of some of the history of the record.

1887 - Edison invents the first cylinder record.

1889 - Emile Berliner invents the first flat disc record. Five inches in diameter.

1890 - Edison Brown wax cylinders emerge under North American Phonograph Company. Takes on Columbia cylinder and Berliner Flat disc. 120-160rpm.

Shortly after, Pathé records were being produced in France (mostly French) as two different sizes, 2.25 inch and 3.5 inch Salon cylinders. Although popular in Europe, very few migrated over to the states.

1890 to 1903, Edison Bell Consolidated Phonograph Company in England produces and becomes England’s largest cylinder manufacturer. Their patents gave them control over most aspects of manufacturing and selling cylinder records and phonographs in England.

1894 - Berliner creates the seven inch disc and continues to build upon his invention.

1898 - Concert cylinders, large brown wax, sold by both Columbia and Edison. 120rpm, then 144rpm in 1899 and 160rpm in 1902. Edison produced the Concert until 1911.

1901 to 1905 - Lambert cylinders, manufactured by Lambert Co. of Chicgo, came in shades of pink colour as well as purple, brown and black. They were the first cylinders made of celluloid. Known today as Pink Lamberts to collectors

1902 - Edison's Gold Moulded process was developed. Trace levels of the metal were applied as a conductive agent in creating the initial mould from the master. 160rpm. Lasted 1.5-2.5 minutes.  Columbia adopts the Gold Moulded process for their records.

Edison Grand Concert series was released as the “B” series and continued onto the 4 Minute Amberol records.

Edison recorded and released cylinders from offices in London, Paris, and Berlin. Foreign cylinders issued in the United States in series such as Edison's British, Bohemian, French, German, Swedish, and Norwegian series, cylinders were also recorded and manufactured overseas in several Euro markets.

1902 - Edison Chinese recordings emerge in San Francisco, mainly for the US market.

1902 to 1912 - Edison produces German records, Edison Goldguss Walze

1903 - Patents of Edison Bell expired. The industry was open to its competition. Many record manufacturers and retail companies are born.

1904 - Sterling Records was founded in 1904 by Louis Sterling, an American who had moved to England . He was employed by the British Zonophone Co. Sterling cylinders are typically about 1/4" longer than standard cylinders.

1904 - Busy-Bee cylinders were manufactured by the O'Neill-James Co. of Chicago. Made both cylinders and discs, often with content licensed from other companies.

1904 to 1909  -  Edison French recordings from Paris, Cylindres Edison Moulés Sur Or

1905 - Columbia releases a series of six inch long cylinders, 3 minutes long. Only 189 titles issued.

1907 - The Industructible Phonograph Co. of Albany, NY, produces moulded celluloid 2M & 4M cylinders. Both issued as Industructible Record label for Sears record line, Oxford.

1908 to 1912 - Industructible Records distributed by Columbia Phonograph Co.

1908 to 1912 - The U.S. Phonograph Company of Cleveland, Ohio, produced celluloid 2M & 4M cylinders under its own label, U.S. Everlasting Record and also as Lakeside Label for Montgomery Ward department stores. At the time, these were superior in sound quality to most others.

1908 - Amberol cylinder doubled the threads per inch, making it a 4 minute record. Machines had to be retrofitted to play these new longer playing records.

1909 - Amberola 1A was introduced, able to play both 2M and 4M cylinders with a flip of a switch.

1909 - Columbia stopped production of cylinders. Moves onto all flat disc format.

1912 - Blue Amberol introduced, celluloid-based Indestructible cylinders. Shrinkage and deformation over time have rendered the cylinders difficult to play. Fought the emerging dominance of the disc record.

1914 - Edison ceases production of cylinders. Produced blank Brown cylinders into the 1950s.

1915 - Edison introduced the Diamond Disc record, his own version of the flat disc record, although, not needle cut like its competition.

1929 - Edison Records closes

 

Different Genres of records to be found on records:
    * Band music
    * Cakewalks
    * Carols
    * Christmas music and stories
    * Comic songs
    * Country/Old-time music
    * Dance bands
    * Ethnic humor
          o German
          o Irish
          o Italian
          o Scottish
          o Jewish
    * Fiddle tunes
    * Hawaiian music
    * Home recordings
    * Humorous recitations
    * Hymns
    * Jazz
    * Language instruction (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish)
    * Marches
    * Minstrel music
    * Musical theater
    * National songs/anthems
    * Operas
    * Orchestral music
    * Patriotic music
    * Polkas
    * Ragtime and rag songs
    * Sacred music
    * Sermons
    * Speeches
    * Spirituals
    * String Quartets
    * Vaudeville
    * "Venetian" instrumental groups
    * Vocal duets
    * Vocal quartets
    * Waltzes
    * Whistling

There were literally hundreds of record companies, producing flat disc and cylinders, during the phonograph industry boom. Some of the more successful labels of the time were Victor and Columbia. With the race to sign new artists their label, many small companies were developed. Most smaller companies eventually went out of business or were bought up by larger record companies. Victor was one of the first to see the importance in assigning contracts with musical artists, making them exclusive to the record label.




 

 

How to Clean your Old 78rpm Disc Records
Things You'll Need: • Mild hand dishwashing detergent • Soft washcloth or soft bristle paintbrush
• Lint-free cloth • Distilled water

1. Rinse the 78 rpm record with water, taking care not to get the label wet.
2. Mix a few drops of dishwashing soap (a mild type such as Ivory®) with water. Apply to the record using a clean, soft cloth (shammy) or a small clean soft bristle paintbrush. Wipe the record in the direction of the grooves, never across the grooves. Use light pressure to remove stubborn dirt spots. Never use rubbing alcohol or alcohol based products on your records.
3. Rinse the record again in water to remove the detergent solution, again taking care not the wet the label.
4. If your tap water is hard and tends to leave spots on your dishes, follow it with a rinse of distilled water. If your dishes have spots, good chance your records will too. Use distilled water rather than your tap water.
5. Dry the clean 78 rpm record by dabbing it with a clean, lint-free cloth. Do not wipe across the grooves.
Let sit flat on dry towel for at least 12-16 hours so that they dry before playing on your phonograph. Do not try to speed drying by placing under a hairdryer or in the microwave.

 

The Most Popular Question about Metal Needles

Do I need to replace the needle after every play of the record?

YES. The needle tip gets worn down during the play of the record, it is advised to replace the needle after every play to help keep the record in good shape. No matter the composition of the needle, the grooves of the record file away at the metal tip and make it dull.

This isn't a ploy to sell more needles. This is a fact and not replacing them will scratch up your records. So be aware of anyone selling "Multi-Play" needles.

 

Do you have any Tungs-tone needles?
I hear they are multiplay needles?

During World War I, restrictions were placed on commercial uses of steel, so Victor Talking Machine Co. developed a needle with a reproducing tip made of tungsten, a metal that never made the list of restricted materials. These needles lasted up to 50 plays of a record. These needles are no longer produced and are hard to find never used.

 

What is a Fibre needle?

Fibre needles can still be found today by individuals who put time into slicing and dicing these into shape. They are long and triangular in shape. These needles put less stress on your record grooves. They need to be sharpened after every play and sound aweful (my opinion). The sound quality from these are low and muffled. Fibre needles are usually made of Bamboo.

 

I hear a thump when I crank up my phonograph?

When you crank up the phonograph, a thump occurs. This can be a number of things. But the most common reason is that the grease inside the spring housing is getting gunked up and the spring is sticking. The only way to remedy this is to have the motor cleaned and the springs regreased.

 

There's no tension when I crank my phonograph?

This is most likely due to either cracked springs or springs that released from the pin withing the housing case. The springs within the case will have to be fixed and regreased.

 

I see "New Old Stock" on some sales listings,
What does that mean?

New Old Stock (NOS) really means, "I have something that is old and never used". This is a fancy way to say, "Buy it cuz it's old and pay more money for it". In my eyes, NOS is just a way to get people to buy something readily available for more money.

 

Do you sell Amberola cylinder discs?

Yes, I have these in stock and will list them onto the site as time allows.

 

Can I play common discs on my Edison and Pathé Phonograph?

Edison and Pathé (Pronounced, Pah-tay), are the only records that use a special stylus that lasts much longer than the standard metal needle. These were constructed of either a Sapphire or Diamond tip.

Edison used the Diamond stylus and was made to play its Diamond Disc records.

Pathé use a Sapphire stylus and were made to play Pathé discs at 90rpm.

Using these two different stylus on your old records can ruin them instantly. Never use a metal needle on Edison or Pathé records. The only Pathé record that actually uses a metal needle are called "Actualle" made by Pathé.

 

Do you sell the needle for my Edison?

Edison decided to use his own technology and his own style of records. He called his records, Diamond Discs. You can identify these records from other 78's because they are about 1/4 inch thick. They also will have Edison's face embossed or on the label too. The Edison phonograph stylus was meant to play thousands of records without replacing. The stylus was made of Diamond tip. These were not meant to be switched out like the common metal needles. These are still available although may need to be replaced by a professional repair service. They can also get more spendy.

 

Do you sell Pathé Needles?

Early Pathé records were made to use the Sapphire Stylus, which looked like a ball at the end of a metal shaft. These were meant only for Pathé records that spun at 90rpm. This stylus lasted a long time and for many plays of the record. Using this on standard records can ruin them. Pathé eventually stopped production of these records and created the record called "Actuelle" that used the metal needle and spun at 78rpm. Yes, I do have the Pathé Stylus available. Check my Store.

 

Are you looking to sell your phonograph or have one in disrepair, taking up space?
Contact me and make me an offer. I am always looking for phonograhs in all conditions to purchase. No offer is ignored. Please email me with photos, you name and explanation of the condition it is in.

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