Edison Recorder
Edison Recorder B&W
Inventor Thomas Edison

Edison's Recorder is the commercial model of the phonograph which was developed as a result of Thomas Edison's work on two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone. The recorder is not to be confused with Dr. Ogden's phonograph in the City Morgue; they are two very different models from different centuries.


The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison and his team in 1877. His first successful recording and reproduction of intelligible sounds, used a thin sheet of tin foil wrapped around a hand-cranked grooved metal cylinder.

Following seven years of research and experimentation at their Volta Laboratory, Charles Sumner Tainter, Alexander Graham Bell and Chichester Bell introduced wax as the recording medium and engraving, rather than indenting, as the recording method. In 1887, their "Graphophone" system, which recorded dictation on disposable cardboard tubes with a thin wax coating, was being put to the test for practical use by official reporters of the US Congress, with commercial units later being produced by the Dictaphone Corporation. After this system was demonstrated to Edison's representatives, Edison quickly resumed work on the phonograph. He settled on a thicker all-wax cylinder, the surface of which could be repeatedly shaved down for reuse.

Both the Graphophone and Edison's "Perfected Phonograph" were commercialized in 1888. Eventually, a patent-sharing agreement was signed and the wax-coated cardboard tubes were abandoned in favor of Edison's all-wax cylinders as an interchangeable standard format

Appearances and Mentions


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