The Phonograph

In 1877 the first phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison. The phonograph was the first method of recording and playing back sound. This was Edison's first great invention. The new invention gave Edison international fame. He toured the country with the phonograph and was even invited to the White House to demonstrate the invention to President Rutherfor B. Hayes in 1878.

The Gramophone

The Phonograph was great at the time but it was only good for a one time only playback and the sound quality was terrible. 10 years after the Phonograph was invented Emile Berliner came up with the Gramophone. He was the first inventor to stop recording on cylinders and start recording on flat discs or records. The first records were made of glass. Later on they were made of zinc and eventually plastic. The records had a spiral groove etched into it with sound information that the "arm" of the gramophone, which held a needle, would run through while being hand-cranked and play the sound through the gramophone speaker. The record was the first sound recording that could be mass produced in 1900 which was perfected by Eldridge Johnson. Johnson and Berliner began working together shortly after the gramophone made it big and eventually created an easier way of listening to these new records. Johnson made a motor for the gramophone to keep it at a steady speed instead of hand-cranking the records.


In 1906 the Victrola model record player was introduced by RCA Victor. This record player had variable turntable speeds to accommodate the already wide range of records being produced at the time. Two years later Columbia Records introduced the first double-sided phonograph records. Finally in 1912, cylinder recordings were a thing of the past and disc recordings were the hip thing to have. 12 years after the invention of the record made a hit, in 1924 things got a little more high-tech. Electrical reords were now replacing the acoustic records of the past. In 1928 the standard speed for all phonograph records became 78.26rpm.