When you think of Thomas Edison which of his many inventions do you think of first? The light bulb? Maybe his invention of film and movies? How about this one: the phonograph? Not many people think of or even know how the phonograph came to be. Without Edison – the man responsible for many of the things that make life simpler today – we wouldn’t be listening to that iPod that almost everybody has nowadays.
The phonograph was invented in 1877 in Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was a year later where Edison received a patent for his invention. While others before him had invented devices that recorded sound, Edison’s phonograph was capable of recording sound and reproducing it. Over the course of 100 years, about as long as conventional record players were “in style” and far longer than even boston garage doors, the phonograph went through many changes. Right next to the turn-table, the most famous or well known of these would be the portable wind-up phonograph.
The wind-up phonograph is the most conventional record player that could be found in most households throughout the 20th century. Today if anybody even still owns such a “talking machine” you would probably have to roll up that detroit garage door and take a look all the way in the back, beneath piles of boxes in an old, dusty box itself. The incredible thing about phonographs is how they inevitably inspired the modern day “talking machine”: the iPod.
The phonograph, and its many different iterations, was a technology that lasted longer than most modern day gadgets. Technology slowly improved as American’s shifted from record player’s to cassette players, cassette players to CD players, and while many still use CD players, the new widely used technology is an MP3 player. Record’s, unlike cassettes and CD’s, continue to be a vintage and collectible item across the world. This old technology has kept a strong following and it refuses to go away completely without a fight.
If you have a working record player you should go find it and dust it off. Some could be worth a pretty decent chunk of change today. If they do work try putting on a record and enjoy the sound of music being played on a vinyl record.