The Edison Standard Cylinder Phonograph

This page has been created to assist those interested in the Edison Standard Cylinder Phonograph. It is hoped that the page can be a source for valuable information for the appreciation, restoration and operation of these machines. I am always looking for more information to include. I also look forward to advice and corrections. You can contact me at To reach the main menu of this page click here

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Sources for restoration information and parts.



Tour of my 1903 Edison Standard

Tour of my 1905 Edison Standard

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Cylinders and playing set up 1903

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Events of 1903

Events of 1905

House design 1903-5

Clothing 1903-5

Innovations 1903-5

Top songs 1903-5

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The History of the Edison Cylinder Phonograph
Timeline of Edison's life click here

The phonograph was developed as a result of Thomas Edison's work on two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone. In 1877, Edison was working on a machine that would transcribe telegraphic messages through indentations on paper tape, which could later be sent over the telegraph repeatedly. This development led Edison to speculate that a telephone message could also be recorded in a similar fashion. He experimented with a diaphragm which had an embossing point and was held against rapidly-moving paraffin paper. The speaking vibrations made indentations in the paper. Edison later changed the paper to a metal cylinder with tin foil wrapped around it. The machine had two diaphragm-and-needle units, one for recording, and one for playback. When one would speak into a mouthpiece, the sound vibrations would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle in a vertical (or hill and dale) groove pattern. Edison gave a sketch of the machine to his mechanic, John Kreusi, to build, which Kreusi supposedly did within 30 hours. Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking the nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, "Mary had a little lamb." To his amazement, the machine played his words back to him.


Although it was later stated that the date for this event was on August 12, 1877, some historians believe that it probably happened several months later, since Edison did not file for a patent until December 24, 1877. Also, the diary of one of Edison's aides, Charles Batchelor, seems to confirm that the phonograph was not constructed until December 4, and finished two days later. The patent on the phonograph was issued on February 19, 1878. The invention was highly original. The only other recorded evidence of such an invention was in a paper by French scientist Charles Cros, written on April 18, 1877. There were some differences, however, between the two men's ideas, and Cros's work remained only a theory, since he did not produce a working model of it.


Edison took his new invention to the offices of Scientific American in New York City and showed it to staff there. As the December 22, 1877, issue reported, "Mr. Thomas A. Edison recently came into this office, placed a little machine on our desk, turned a crank, and the machine inquired as to our health, asked how we liked the phonograph, informed us that it was very well, and bid us a cordial good night." Interest was great, and the invention was reported in several New York newspapers, and later in other American newspapers and magazines.

The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company was established on January 24, 1878, to exploit the new machine by exhibiting it. Edison received $10,000 for the manufacturing and sales rights and 20% of the profits. As a novelty, the machine was an instant success, but was difficult to operate except by experts, and the tin foil would last for only a few playings.

Ever practical and visionary, Edison offered the following possible future uses for the phonograph in North American Review in June 1878:


  1. Letter writing and all kinds of dictation without the aid of a stenographer.
  2. Phonographic books, which will speak to blind people without effort on their part.
  3. The teaching of elocution.
  4. Reproduction of music.
  5. The "Family Record"--a registry of sayings, reminiscences, etc., by members of a family in their own voices, and of the last words of dying persons.
  6. Music-boxes and toys.
  7. Clocks that should announce in articulate speech the time for going home, going to meals, etc.
  8. The preservation of languages by exact reproduction of the manner of pronouncing.
  9. Educational purposes; such as preserving the explanations made by a teacher, so that the pupil can refer to them at any moment, and spelling or other lessons placed upon the phonograph for convenience in committing to memory.
  10. Connection with the telephone, so as to make that instrument an auxiliary in the transmission of permanent and invaluable records, instead of being the recipient of momentary and fleeting communication.

Eventually, the novelty of the invention wore off for the public, and Edison did no further work on the phonograph for a while, concentrating instead on inventing the incandescent light bulb.

In the void left by Edison, others moved forward to improve the phonograph. In 1880, Alexander Graham Bell won the Volta Prize of $10,000 from the French government for his invention of the telephone. Bell used his winnings to set up a laboratory to further electrical and acoustical research, working with his cousin Chichester A. Bell, a chemical engineer, and Charles Sumner Tainter, a scientist and instrument maker. They made some improvements on Edison's invention, chiefly by using wax in the place of tin foil and a floating stylus instead of a rigid needle which would incise, rather than indent, the cylinder. A patent was awarded to C. Bell and Tainter on May 4, 1886. The machine was exhibited to the public as the graphophone. Bell and Tainter had representatives approach Edison to discuss a possible collaboration on the machine, but Edison refused and determined to improve the phonograph himself. At this point, he had succeeded in making the incandescent lamp and could now resume his work on the phonograph. His initial work, though, closely followed the improvements made by Bell and Tainter, especially in its use of wax cylinders, and was called the New Phonograph.

The Edison Phonograph Company was formed on October 8, 1887, to market Edison's machine. He introduced the Improved Phonograph by May of 1888, shortly followed by the Perfected Phonograph. The first wax cylinders Edison used were white and made of ceresin, beeswax, and stearic wax.


Businessman Jesse H. Lippincott assumed control of the phonograph companies by becoming sole licensee of the American Graphophone Company and by purchasing the Edison Phonograph Company from Edison. In an arrangement which eventually included most other phonograph makers as well, he formed the North American Phonograph Company on July 14, 1888. Lippincott saw the potential use of the phonograph only in the business field and leased the phonographs as office dictating machines to various member companies which each had its own sales territory. Unfortunately, this business did not prove to be very profitable, receiving significant opposition from stenographers.

Meanwhile, the Edison Factory produced talking dolls in 1890 for the Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Co. The dolls contained tiny wax cylinders. Edison's relationship with the company ended in March of 1891, and the dolls are very rare today. The Edison Phonograph Works also produced musical cylinders for coin-slot phonographs which some of the subsidiary companies had started to use. These proto-"jukeboxes" were a development which pointed to the future of phonographs as entertainment machines.

In the fall of 1890, Lippincott fell ill and lost control of the North American Phonograph Co. to Edison, who was its principal creditor. Edison changed the policy of rentals to outright sales of the machines, but changed little else.

Edison increased the entertainment offerings on his cylinders, which by 1892 were made of a wax known among collectors today as "brown wax." Although called by this name, the cylinders could range in color from off-white to light tan to dark brown. An announcement at the beginning of the cylinder would typically indicate the title, artist, and company.


In 1894, Edison declared bankruptcy for the North American Phonograph Company, a move that enabled him to buy back the rights to his invention. It took two years for the bankruptcy affairs to be settled before Edison could move ahead with marketing his invention. The Edison Spring Motor Phonograph appeared in 1895, even though technically Edison was not allowed to sell phonographs at this time because of the bankruptcy agreement. In January 1896, he started the National Phonograph Company which would manufacture phonographs for home entertainment use. Within three years, branches of the company were located in Europe. Under the aegis of the company, he announced the Spring Motor Phonograph in 1896, followed by the Edison Home Phonograph, and he began the commercial issue of cylinders under the new company's label. A year later, the Edison Standard Phonograph was manufactured, and then exhibited in the press in 1898. This was the first phonograph to carry the Edison trademark design. Prices for the phonographs had significantly diminished from its early days of $150 (in 1891) down to $20 for the Standard model and $7.50 for a model known as the Gem, introduced in 1899.

Standard-sized cylinders, which tended to be 4.25" long and 2.1875" in diameter, were 50 cents each and typically played at 120 r.p.m. A variety of selections were featured on the cylinders, including marches, sentimental ballads, coon songs, hymns, comic monologues and descriptive specialities, which offered sound reenactments of events.

The early cylinders had two significant problems. The first was the short length of the cylinders, only 2 minutes. This necessarily narrowed the field of what could be recorded. The second problem was that no mass method of duplicating cylinders existed. Most often, performers had to repeat their performances when recording in order to amass a quantity of cylinders. This was not only time-consuming, but costly.

The Edison Concert Phonograph, which had a louder sound and a larger cylinder measuring 4.25" long and 5" in diameter, was introduced in 1899, retailing for $125 and the large cylinders for $4. The Concert Phonograph did not sell well, and prices for it and its cylinders were dramatically reduced. Their production ceased in 1912.


A process for mass-producing duplicate wax cylinders was put into effect in 1901. The cylinders were molded, rather than engraved by a stylus, and a harder wax was used. The process was referred to as Gold Moulded, because of a gold vapor given off by gold electrodes used in the process. Sub-masters were created from the gold master, and the cylinders were made from these molds. From a single mold, 120 to 150 cylinders could be produced every day. The new wax used was black in color, and the cylinders were initially called New High Speed Hard Wax Moulded Records until the name was changed to Gold Moulded. By mid-1904, the savings in mass duplication was reflected in the price for cylinders which had been lowered to 35 cents each. Beveled ends were made on the cylinders to accommodate titles.

A new business phonograph was introduced in 1905. Similar to a standard phonograph, it had alterations to the reproducer and mandrel. The early machines were difficult to use, and their fragility made them prone to failure. Even though improvements were made to the machine over the years, they still cost more than the popular, inexpensive Dictaphones put out by Columbia. Electrical motors and controls were later added to the Edison business machine, which improved their performance. (Some Edison phonographs made before 1895 also had electric motors, until they were replaced by spring motors.)

At this point, the Edison business phonograph became a dictating system. Three machines were used: the executive dictating machine, the secretarial machine for transcribing, and a shaving machine used to recycle used cylinders. This system can be seen in the Edison advertising film, The Stenographer's Friend, filmed in 1910. An improved machine, the Ediphone, was introduced in 1916 and steadily grew in sales after World War I and into the 1920's.


In terms of playing time, the 2-minute wax cylinder could not compete well against competitors' discs, which could offer up to four minutes. In response, the Amberol Record was presented in November 1908, which had finer grooves than the two-minute cylinders, and thus, could last as long as 4 minutes. The two-minute cylinders were then referred to in the future as Edison Two-Minute Records, and then later as Edison Standard Records. In 1909, a series of Grand Opera Amberols (a continuation of the two-minute Grand Opera Cylinders introduced in 1906) was put on the market to attract the higher-class clientele, but these did not prove successful. The Amberola I phonograph was introduced in 1909, a floor-model luxury machine with high-quality performance, and was supposed to compete with the Victrola and Grafonola.

In 1910, the company was reorganized into Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Frank L. Dyer was initially president, then Edison served as president from December 1912 until August 1926, when his son, Charles, became president, and Edison became chairman of the board.

Columbia, one of Edison's chief competitors, abandoned the cylinder market in 1912. (Columbia had given up making its own cylinders in 1909, and until 1912 was only releasing cylinders which it had acquired from the Indestructible Phonographic Record Co.) The United States Phonograph Co. ceased production of its U.S. Everlasting cylinders in 1913, leaving the cylinder market to Edison. The disc had steadily grown in popularity with the consumer, thanks especially to the popular roster of Victor artists on disc. Edison refused to give up the cylinder, introducing instead the Blue Amberol Record, an unbreakable cylinder with what was arguably the best available sound on a recording at the time. The finer sound of the cylinder was partly due to the fact that a cylinder had constant surface speed from beginning to end in contrast to the inner groove distortion that occurred on discs when the surface speed slowed down. Partisans of Edison also argued that the vertical cut in the groove produced a superior sound to the lateral cut of Victor and other disc competitors. Cylinders, though, had truly peaked by this time, and even the superior sound of the Blue Amberols could not persuade the larger public to buy cylinders. Edison conceded to this reality in 1913 when he announced the manufacture of the Edison Disc Phonograph. The Edison Company did not desert its faithful cylinder customers, however, and continued to make Blue Amberol cylinders until the demise of the company in 1929, although most from 1915 on were dubbed from the Diamond Discs.

Information for this section was culled from the following sources:

Gelatt, Roland. The Fabulous Phonograph: From Tin Foil to High Fidelity. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1955.

Koenigsberg, Allen. Edison Cylinder Records, 1889-1912. New York: Stellar Productions, 1969.

Marco, Guy A., ed. Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the United States. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1993.

Millard, Andre. America on Record: A History of Recorded Sound. Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Read, Oliver, and Walter L. Welch. From Tin Foil to Stereo: Evolution of the Phonograph. Indianapolis: Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc., 1959.

-Source: Library of Congress

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 Timeline of Edison's Life
1847 (TOP)
Thomas Alva Edison born on February 11 in Milan, Ohio.

Edison's family moves to Port Huron, Michigan.

Edison takes job selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railway.

Edison begins work as a telegraph operator in Port Huron.

Edison obtains telegraph job for the Grand Trunk Railway in Ontario.

Edison returns to the U.S. in the fall and goes from city to city as a telegraph operator.

Edison arrives in New York City and eventually gets job at Laws' Gold Indicator Co. after fixing the company's stock ticker.

Edison receives patent in June for his first invention, an electric vote recorder.


Edison opens his first workshop in Newark, New Jersey.

Edison marries Mary Stilwell on December 25.

Edison's daughter, Marion Estelle ("Dot"), is born.

Edison moves to Menlo Park, New Jersey, and establishes laboratory.

Edison's son, Thomas Alva, Jr. ("Dash"), is born on January 10.

Edison invents carbon telephone transmitter, extending the clarity and range of the telephone.
Edison develops tin foil cylinder phonograph; files patent for it on December 24 which is awarded on February 19, 1878.

Edison Speaking Phonograph Co. incorporated April 24.

Edison's son, William Leslie, is born on October 26.


Edison devises an electric incandescent light bulb that lasts for more than 13 hours.

Organizes the Edison Ore Milling Company.
1880-1889 (TOP)
Edison discovers phenomenon which is later termed the "Edison Effect".

Edison creates the Edison Electric Lamp Co., the Edison Machine Works and other companies to produce his electric lighting system.

Edison opens a commercial electric station in New York City with approximately 85 customers.

The Menlo Park laboratory is closed, and another instituted in New York City.

Edison's wife, Mary, dies on August 9.

Patent awarded to Chichester A. Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter for their wax cylinder graphophone; Edison later refuses to collaborate with them on the invention.

Edison marries Mina Miller on February 24.
Moves his laboratory to East Newark, New Jersey.
Edison develops the New Phonograph, using a wax cylinder.
Edison Phonograph Co. formed in October.
Edison moves to a larger and more modern laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey.

Edison meets Eadweard Muybridge, who shows him his zoopraxiscope; Edison sets William K. L. Dickson and other assistants to work to make a Kinetoscope, "an instrument which does for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear".

Improved Phonograph introduced, followed by the Perfected Phonograph.
Edison's daughter, Madeleine, is born on May 31.

Jesse H. Lippincott assumes control of phonograph companies by forming the North American Phonograph Co. on July 14; leases phonographs as dictation machines.

Edison files his first caveat(a Patent Office document in which one declares his work on a particular invention in anticipation of filing a patent application) on the Kinetoscope and Kinetograph on October 8; William Kennedy Laurie Dickson assigned to work on project.

Edison produces dolls with tiny cylinders inside to make them talk for the Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Co.; project ceases in March 1891.

Edison General Electric formed in April.

Edison Manufacturing Co. is organized.
1890-1899 (TOP)
Lippincott becomes ill and loses control of North American Phonograph Co. to Edison, its principal creditor.

Edison's son, Charles, is born on August 3.

A peep-hole viewing machine shown by Edison on May 20 to participants from the National Federation of Women's Clubs.

Edison General Electric and Thomson-Houston merge into General Electric.

Construction on a film studio known to Edison employees as the "Black Maria" completed in February; earliest Edison motion pictures were filmed there.

First public demonstration of Edison's 1 1/2" system of Kinetoscope at the Brooklyn Institute on May 9.
Copyright registered to William K. L. Dickson for sample kinetoscope records on October 6.
Edison declares bankruptcy for the North American Phonograph Co.

Applications submitted to U.S. Patent Office for the Kinetograph and the Kinetoscope.

First Kinetoscope parlor opened in midtown Manhattan on April 14.

Edison puts the Edison Manufacturing Co. in charge of the manufacture and sale of Kinetoscopes and films on April 1.

Edison and Dickson experiment to synchronize sound with film; the Kinetophone is invented which loosely synchronizes a Kinetoscope image with a cylinder phonograph.

The Edison Spring Motor Phonograph appears.

Dickson leaves Edison's employ on April 2.

C. Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat demonstrate their Phantoscope, a motion picture projector, in Atlanta, Georgia, in late September to early October.

Edison forms the National Phonograph Co. with the purpose of manufacturing phongraphs for home use on January 27.

Spring Motor Phonograph is released under aegis of the National Phonograph Co., followed by the Edison Home Phonograph.

Edison negotiates in January with Raff & Gammon to manufacture the Phantoscope which Armat presents as his own invention; machine is renamed the Vitascope in February, and Edison's name put on it.

Vitascope publicly exhibited at Koster & Bial's Music Hall on April 23 to great acclaim.

The company begins practice of copyrighting its films on October 23 by sending short pieces of positive nitrate film from the motion pictures to the Library of Congress.

Edison distances himself from agreement with Raff & Gammon; introduces the Projecting Kinetoscope or Projectoscope on November 30 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Edison Standard Phonograph manufactured.

Edison begins to send positive paper prints of motion pictures for copyright deposit to the Library of Congress in August.

James White hired to head Kinetograph Department at the Edison Manufacturing Co. in October.

Edison begins legal battles in December that continue for the following year against other producers and exhibitors whom he charges with infringement.

Spanish-American War occurs; Edison Company sends cameraman to Cuba to film scenes of war.

Edison's son, Theodore Miller, is born on July 10.

Edison Concert Phonograph introduced.

1900-1931 (TOP)
Edison Manufacturing Co. incorporated on May 5.

Edwin S. Porter hired by Edison Co. in November to work with film equipment; he later becomes the company's most famous director.

Process for mass-producing duplicate wax cylinders put into effect; they are known as Gold Moulded cylinders.

A new film studio for the Edison Co. in New York is completed in January; this is the nation's first indoor, glass-enclosed studio.

U.S. Circuit Court recognizes Edison's motion picture patent claims in his suit in July; American Mutoscope & Biograph Company appeals decision.

Edison cameras are present at Pan-American Exposition when President McKinley is shot by an assassin.

Circuit Court's decision reversed on March 10 by Court of Appeals, which essentially disallows Edison having a monopoly on motion picture apparatus.

One of the most famous early films, The Great Train Robbery, directed by Edwin S. Porter, is filmed during November.

Business Phonograph introduced.

Nickelodeons become popular in Chicago and later spread to other urban areas.

Amberol Record introduced; the cylinder could play as long as four minutes, twice as long as previous cylinders.

Association of Edison Licensees and Film Service Association formed; Motion Picture Patents Co. formed from it later to include Biograph licensees.

New Edison film studio opened in the Bronx, New York, June-July.

Edwin S. Porter fired on November 10.

Company reorganized into Thomas A. Edison, Inc.

Edison Disc Phonograph shown in public for the first time.

Edison Disc Phonograph put on sale.

Blue Amberol introduced, an unbreakable cylinder with superior sound.

Kinetophone is introduced, which attempts to synchronize motion pictures with a phonograph cylinder record.

Kinetophone abandoned.

Tone tests for Diamond Discs introduced.

Motion Picture Patents Co. found guilty of antitrust violation on October 1.

Edison named head of the Naval Consulting Board.

American involvement in World War I begins; Edison creates Army and Navy Model of the Disc Phonograph.

Motion picture studio ceases production in February; studio sold on March 30 to the Lincoln & Parker Film Co.

Edison resigns as president of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., and becomes chairman of the board; his son, Charles takes over as president.

Edison takes over Aplitdorf-Bethlehem Electrical Co., a move which allows him to manufacture radios.
Edison awarded Congressional gold metal for his many contributions.
Edison makes programs for radio on long-playing discs; first used by radio station WAAM of Newark, New Jersey, on April 4.

Edison Portable Disc Phonograph with New Edison Needle Records introduced.

Orders given on October 21 to close the Edison disc business.
Edison dies in West Orange on October 18.

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1. Edison was an inventor but also a businessman. Compare and contrast him with prominent inventor businessmen in the computer industry in the 21st century.

2. Were you surprised to find that Edison focused  primairly on  business functions for recorded sound? How does this parallel the marketing of the PC?

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Restoration and Parts Assistance

Antique Phonograph Supply Co.  P.O. Box 123 Route 23 Davenport Ctr, N.Y. 13751  607-278-6218 Fax: 607-278-5136  A very good company! We have had great results and wonderful advice and service. Highly recommended.

Nipperhead has a list of sources here:

Another source....


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"His Master's Voice" In America
By: Fred Barnum
 The General Electric Company

A Streak of Luck - The Life and Legend of Thomas A. Edison
By: Robert Conot
 Seaview Books
ISBN 0-87223-521-1, hardcover, 565 pages

Collecting Phonographs and Gramophones
By: Christopher Proudfoot
 Christie's International
ISBN 0-8317-3952-5, hardcover, 119 pages

Edison - A life of Invention
By: Paul Israel
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
ISBN 0-471-52942-7, 552 pages, hardcover

Edison Blue Amberol Recordings 1912-1914
By: Ronald Dethlefson
Published by Stationary X-Press
ISBN 0-9606466-3-4, 208 pages, softcover
email Mr. Dethlefson-click

Edison Cylinder Phonograph Companion
By: George L. Frow
PStationary X-Press
ISBN 0-9606466-1-4, hardcover, 384 pages

Edison Cylinder Records, 1889-1912
By: Allen Koenigsberg
 APM Press
214 pages, softcover

Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the United States
Edited By: Guy A. Marco
 Garland Publishing, Inc.
Hardcover, 910 pages

Hand-Cranked Phonographs
By: Neil Maken
 Promar Publishing
ISBN 0-9640687-1-0, softback, 87 pages

History Of Music Machines
The Smithsonian Institute
 Drake Publishers
ISBN 0-87749-755-9, 139 pages, hardcover

Phono Graphics
By: Arnold Swartzman
 Chronical Books
ISBN 0-8118-0302-3, softcover

Procedings of the 1890 Convention of Local Phonograph Companies
Series Editor: Danny R. Hatcher
Country Music Foundation Press
210 pages, softcover (out of print)

Talking Wax
By: Leroy Hughbanks
 The Hobson Book Press
142 pages, hardback

The Compleat Talking Machine
By: Eric L. Reiss
Sonoran Publishing, LLC
ISBN 1-886606-12-9, softcover, third edition

The Patent History of the Phonograph, 1877-1912
By: Allen Koenigsberg
 APM Press
155 pages, softcover

The Phonograph And How To Use It
The National Phonograph Company
The National Phonograph Company
Hardcover, 181 pages

The Talking Machine: An Illustrated Compendium
By: Tim Fabrizio & George Paul
 Shiffer Books


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Helpful Links

Images of other cylinder machines by Edison

Edison manual

Phonograph advertizing\

A Good Cylinder site with sound files

The Edison Historical Site West Orange NJ (I worked there!)

The Menlo Park Museum

The lab from Menlo Park at the Henry Ford Museum

Collection online from the Edison Site

Another Great Cylinder Recording Site

A very good phonograph site

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Tour of My Edison Standard Phonographs

1903 end patent

Front View

Side view 1

Back View

Side Crank View

Top view lid in and out

Front view uncovered


Top view gear side

Top view left angle

Nov 17, 1903 end patent

Reproducer wide view

Reproducer close up

Case opened showing mechanism


End Patent 1905- Below

Mechanism Detail








Front view
end view
back view
crank end view crank is threaded
trade mark
gear end open view
front view open top
crank end top open view
back view
crank end top open view
patent 1905 end patent date



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Cylinders and Playing mode for 1903

Cylinder on mandrel


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Recent Sales on ebay


Edison Standard Phonograph $200.001Jul-17 19:37

Nice Old EDISON STANDARD PHONOGRAPH+Records  $431.0017Jul-18 11:56

Edison Standard Phonograph w Morning Glory Horn & Crane  $332.0011Jul-21 18:58

Edison Standard Phonograph vintage, exc. condition!! $325.0012Jul-22 19:18




  Events of 1903
  • Panama declares independence from Colombia (Nov. 3).
  • King Alexander of Serbia and his wife are assassinated by conspirators (June 10).
  • Nobel Peace Prize: Sir William R. Cremer (UK)
  • Henry Ford organizes Ford Motor Company.
  • The first transcontinental trip by automobile--San Francisco to New York in 52 days.
  • Federal spending:   $0.52 billion
  • Unemployment:   3.9%
  • Cost of a first-class stamp:$0.02
  • World Series
    Boston Red Sox d. Pittsburgh (5-3)
  • Stanley Cup
    Ottawa Silver Seven
  • Wimbledon
    Women: Dorothea Douglass d. E. Thomson (4-6 6-4 6-2)
    Men: Laurie Doherty d. F. Riseley (7-5 6-3 6-0)
  • Kentucky Derby Champion
    Judge Himes
  • NCAA Football Champions
    Princeton (11-0-0)
  • Edison Corporation mechanic Edwin S. Porter makes The Great Train Robbery. With 14 shots cutting between simultaneous events, this 12-minute short establishes the shot as film's basic element and editing as a central narrative device. It is also the first Western.
  • The Wright brothers make aviation history with their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
  • Nobel Prizes in Science

Chemistry: Svante A. Arrhenius (Sweden), for his electrolytic theory of dissociation

Physics: A. Henri Becquerel (France), for work on spontaneous radioactivity; and Pierre and Marie Curie (France), for study of radiation

Physiology or Medicine: Niels R. Finsen (Denmark), for his treatment of lupus vulgaris with concentrated light rays


Events of 1905

  • In Russo-Japanese War, Port Arthur surrenders to Japanese; Russia suffers other defeats.

  • The Russian Revolution of 1905 begins on “Bloody Sunday” when troops fire onto a defenseless group of demonstrators in St. Petersburg. Strikes and riots follow.

  • Sailors on Russian battleship Potemkin mutiny; reforms, including first Duma, established by Czar Nicholas II's “October Manifesto.”
  • Industrial Workers of the World is founded in Chicago with the hopes of uniting all workers and giving more control to unions.
  • Numerous advancements in train service include 18-hour rides between New York and Chicago and the first train ever equipped with electric lights. Background: Railroads
  • President: Theodore Roosevelt
    Vice President: Charles W. Fairbanks
  • U.S. Population: 83,822,000
  • Federal spending:   $0.57 billion
  • Unemployment:   4.3%
  • Cost of a first-class stamp:   $0.02
  • World Series
    NY Giants d. Philadelphia A's (4-1)
  • Stanley Cup
    Ottawa Silver Seven
  • Wimbledon
    Women: May Sutton d. D. Douglass (6-3 6-4)
    Men: Laurie Doherty d. N. Brookes (8-6 6-2 6-4)
  • Kentucky Derby Champion
  • NCAA Football Champions
    Chicago (10-0-0)
  • Isadora Duncan establishes the first school of modern dance in Berlin.
  • The first movie theater opens in Pittsburgh.
  • Nobel Prize for Literature: Henryk Sienkiewicz (Poland)
  • Nobel Prizes in Science

    Chemistry: Adolf von Baeyer (Germany), for work on organic dyes and hydroaromatic combinations

    Physics: Philipp Lenard (Germany), for work with cathode rays

    Physiology or Medicine: Robert Koch (Germany), for work on tuberculosis




Architecture of 1903-5

Frank Loyd Wright was building his Prarie Style Houses

The Beaux Arts style was also popular as was Queen Anne, and Bungalow


Clothing 1903-5

Dress at The Turn of the 20th Century
La Belle Époque 1890-1914

Women's dress in the 1890's continued to be built in a sturdy, heavy, upholstered style, but the silhouette changed to that of an hour glass.  Female bodies were corseted to a small waist, and then padded in the buttocks, hips, bosom and sleeves to exaggerate the apparent wasp-waisted effect.

Hats began to grow larger in the 1890's, a trend that continued steadily until 1911.

American men of around 1900 tried to emulate the image of the "Arrow Shirt Man" drawn by J.C.Leyendecker, with brightly colored shirts and hard white tubular collars worn under the sporty Sack Suit jackets, that had recently moved up from sport clothes to business wear. During this period in the US, the European fashion for Frock coats like the Prince Albert Coat and the Cutaway is gradually displaced by the sack, so much so that even rich American men sport an evening version of the sack, the Tuxedo, to male only parties and semi formal events.

The Hourglass shape of the woman of the  1890's transformed after 1897 into the "S" curve of 1897-1908. This change came from longer lined "health" corsets that supported the spine and abdomen, especially when they were over-laced by the fashionable. Fashionable women in this period seem to be leaning into a wind. The curvaceous clothing line of this period meshes perfectly with the curving lines of the dominant decorative style of the day, known as "Art Nouveau".

Most women's dress in this era was highly influenced by the advancing feminist cause, which after 1903 escalated to widespread civil disobedience by "Suffragettes" (radical suffragists).  Women modeled their behavior and appearance upon the Gibson Girl the popular image of the "New Woman".   Men's clothing styles such as the suit, shirt, hard collar and tie were worn by women forcing themselves into professions formerly occupied by men. Health fads of the 1890's and 1900's also encouraged women's sporting activities, particularly bicycling, which, in turn promoted sport clothing as a fashion.

Dress reform, continued to be a hot topic in this period, even gaining such notable adherents as Mark Twain.

Artists such as Mariano Fortuny in Italy and the Wiener Werkstaette group in Austria continued to design Aesthetic reform costumes such as Fortuny's Delphos Dress, and  dress became progressively more comfortable, practical and aesthetically pleasing in this whole era.   The beauty of the designs worn in this era are so apparent that the period 1890-1914 is commonly called la Belle Époque ("The Beautiful Epoch")

 "The Reformed Dress", 1902 in Max Von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

Women's clothing after 1900 became lighter and lighter in construction and materials.   A popular style in this period was the "Lingerie Dress" a feather-light white cotton dress inset with strips of open work lace and net.




Innovations 1903

The Model A Ford
The First Harley Davidson
The First Tou d' France
First Message Sent Over Pacific Cable
Helium Discovered
Crayola Crayons
First Comic Book

Innovations 1905
The first Yellow Pages is invented
The Jukebox is invented with 24 songs.


Recorded Songs 1903

# "Always In The Way" (w.m. Charles K. Harris)
- Byron G. Harlan on Edison Records
# "Any Rags?" (w.m. Thomas S. Allen)
- Arthur Collins on Edison
# "The Arrow And The Song" (w. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow m. Michael William Balfe)
- Herbert Goddard on Victor Records
# "Badinage" (m. Victor Herbert)
- Edison Grand Concert Band on Edison
# "Bedelia" (w. William Jerome m. Jean Schwartz)
- George J. Gaskin on Columbia Records
- Edward M. Favor on Columbia
- Billy Murray on Edison
# "The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous" (w.m. Dan McAvoy)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
- Dan W. Quinn on Victor
# "Blaze Away" (m. Abe Holzmann)
- banjos Vess L. Ossman & Bill Farmer on Victor
# "Blaze Away" (m. Abe Holzmann)
- Kendle's Band on Victor
# "By The Sycamore Tree" (w. George V. Hobart m. Max Hoffmann)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
- Bob Roberts on Columbia
- Billy Murray on Victor
# "Come Down Ma' Evenin' Star" (w. Robert B. Smith m. John Stromberg)
- Mina Hickman on Victor
# "Congo Love Song" (w.m. Bob Cole & J. Rosamond Johnson)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
- Mina Hickman on Victor
# "Could You Be True To Eyes Of Blue If You Looked Into Eyes Of Brown?" (w.m. Will D. Cobb & Gus Edwards)
- Harry Macdonough on Victor
# "The Country Girl" (w. Stanislaus Stange m. Julian Edwards)
- Vesta Victoria on Gramophone Records
# "Didn't Know Exactly What To Do" (w. Frank Pixley m. Gustav Luders)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "Down On The Farm" (w. Raymond A. Browne m. Harry Von Tilzer)
- Franklyn Wallace on Edison
# "Flowers Of Dixieland" (w. Edgar Smith m. J. Rosamond Johnson)
- Franklyn Wallace on Edison
# "The Gambling Man(1)" (w. William Jerome m. Jean Schwartz)
- Silas Leachman on Victor
# "Good-bye, Eliza Jane" (w. Andrew B. Sterling m. Harry Von Tilzer)
- Arthur Collins on Edison
# "Hamlet Was A Melancholy Dane" (w. William Jerome m. Jean Schwartz)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "He Ought To Have A Tablet In The Hall of Fame" (w. Arthur L. Robb m. John W. Bratton)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "He Was A Sailor" (w. William Jerome m. Jean Schwartz)
- Collins & Harlan on Edison
# "Heidelberg Stein Song" (w. Frank Pixley m. Gustav Luders)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison & Victor
# "Hiawatha" (w. James O'Dea m. Neil Moret)
- Edison Grand Concert Band on Edison
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
- Metropolitan Orchestra on Victor
- Sousa's Band on Victor
# "Hurrah For Baffin's Bay" (w. Vincent Bryan m. Theodore F. Morse)
- Collins & Harlan on Edison
- Dan W. Quinn on Victor
# "I Could Love You In A Steam Heat Flat" (w. Vincent Bryan m. J. B. Mullen)
- Harry West on Edison
# "I Like You, Lil, For Fair" (Ade, Loraine)
- Billy Murray on Victor
# "I Never Could Love Like That" (Bowman, Johns)
- Billy Murray on Victor
# "I Want To Be A Lidy" (w. George Dance m. George Dee)
- Clarke's Band Of Providence on Victor
# "I Wonder Why Bill Bailey Don't Come Home" (w.m. Frank Fogerty, Matt C. Woodward & William Jerome)
- Arthur Collins on Victor & Edison
# "I'll Wed You In The Golden Summertime" (w. Alfred Bryan m. Stanley Crawford)
- John H. Bieling & Harry Macdonough on Victor
# "I'm A Jonah Man" (w.m. Alex Rogers)
- Dan W. Quinn on Victor
- Arthur Collins on Edison & Victor
# "I'm Thinking Of You All The While" (Reed Jnr)
- Billy Murray on Victor
# "I'm Wearing My Heart Away For You" (w.m. Charles K. Harris)
- Harry Macdonough & John H. Bieling on Victor
# "In Silence" (w. Sydney Rosenfeld m. A. Baldwin Sloane)
- Arthur Clifford on Edison
# "In The City Of Sighs And Tears" (w. Andrew B. Sterling m. Kerry Mills)
- J. W. Myers on Victor
# "In The Good Old Summertime" (w. Ren Shields m. George Evans)
- Haydn Quartette on Victor
- S. H. Dudley & Harry Macdonough with Sousa's Band on Victor
- Harry Macdonough on Victor
# "In The Sweet Bye And Bye" (w. Vincent P. Bryan m. Harry Von Tilzer)
- J. Aldrich Libbey on Edison
# "In The Village By The Sea" (w. Andrew B. Sterling m. Stanley Crawford)
- Byron G. Harlan on Edison
# "It Takes The Irish To Beat The Dutch" (w. Edward Madden m. Theodore F. Morse)
- Billy Murray on Victor Monarch
# "It Was The Dutch" (w. Vincent Bryan m. J. B. Mullen)
- Collins & Harlan on Edison
# "Juanita" (w. Caroline Norton m. trad Sp.)
- Haydn Quartette on Victor
# "Julie" (w. Wiliam Jerome m. Jean Schwartz)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "Just For Tonight(1)" (w.m. Frank O. French)
- Albert C. Campbell on Edison
# "The Leader Of The Frocks And Frills" (w. Robert H. Smith m. Melville Ellis)
- Clarke's Band of Providence on Victor
# "Like A Star That Falls From Heaven" (w. Arthur Lamb m. Kerry Mills)
- Joe Natus on Victor
# "The Maid Of Timbucktoo" (w. James Weldon Johnson m. Bob Cole)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
# "Massa's In De Cold Ground" (w. m. Stephen Collins Foster)
- Edison Male Quartette on Edison
# "Meet Me When The Sun Goes Down" (w. Vincent Bryan m. Harry von Tilzer)
- William H. Thompson on Victor
# "Melody Of Love" (w. Tom Glazer m. H. Engelmann)
- Edison Symphony Orchestra on Edison
# "The Message Of The Rose" (w. Will A. Heelan m. Leo Edwards)
- George Seymour Lenox on Edison
# "The Message Of The Violet" (w. Frank Pixley m. Gustav Luders)
- J. W. Myers on Victor
# "Mighty Lak' A Rose" (w. Frank L. Stanton m. Ethelbert Nevin)
- Arthur Clifford on Edison
# "Moriaty" (w. Charles Horwitz m. Fred V. Bowers)
- Collins & Harlan on Edison
# "My Cosy Corner Girl" (w. Charles Noel Douglas m. John W. Bratton)
- Henry Burr on Columbia
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
# "My Little Coney Isle" (w. Andrew B. Sterling m. Harry von Tilzer)
- Harry Tally on Edison
# "My Little 'Rang Outang" (Madden, Morse)
- Billy Murray on Victor
# "My Own United States" (w. Stanislaus Stange m. Julian Edwards)
- J. W. Myers on Victor
# "My Sulu Lulu Loo" (w. George Ade m. Nat D. Mann)
- Clarke's Band Of Providence on Victor
# "Only A Dream Of A Golden Past" (w. Alfred Bryan m. Stanley Crawford)
- Franklyn Wallace on Edison
# "Out Where The Breakers Roar" (w. Harlow Hyde m. H. W. Petrie)
- Frank C. Stanley on Edison
# "Please Mother, Buy Me A Baby" (w.m. Will D. Cobb & Gus Edwards)
- Byron G. Harlan on Victor & Edison
# "Pretty Little Dinah Jones" (w.m. J. B. Mullen)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
# "R-E-M-O-R-S-E" (w. George Ade m. Alfred G. Wathall)
- Joe Natus on Victor
# "Sal" (w.m. Paul Rubens)
- Madge Crichton with piano Landon Ronald on Gramophone & Typewriter Records
# "Sammy" (w. James O'Dea m. Edward Hutchinson)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
# "Sammy" (w. James O'Dea m. Edward Hutchinson)
- Henry Burr on Columbia
# "Sly Musette" (w. Sydney Rosenfeld m. A. Baldwin Sloane)
- Harry Macdonough on Edison
# "Tell Me Dusky Maiden" (w. James Weldon Johnson & Bob Cole m. J. Rosamond Johnson)
- S. H. Dudley & Harry Macdonough on Victor
# "Then I'd Be Satisfied With Life" (w.m. George M. Cohan)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "There's One In A Million Like You" (w. Grant Clarke m. Jean Schwartz)
- Walter Van Brunt on Edison
# "Two Eyes Of Blue" (w. George H. Taylor m. Leslie Stuart)
- Harry Macdonough on Victor
- Mina Hickman on Victor
# "Under The Bamboo Tree" (w.m. Bob Cole & J. Rosamond Johnson)
- Mina Hickman on Victor
# "Up In A Coconut Tree" (Madden, Morse)
- Billy Murray on Victor Monarch
# "Upper Broadway After Dark" (w. Edward Gardinier m. Maurice Levi)
- Edward M. Favor on Edison
# "The Vacant Chair" (w. Henry S. Washburne m. George Frederick Root)
- Byron G. Harlan on Edison
# "Wait At The Gate For Me" (w. Ren Shields m. Theodore F. Morse)
- J. W. Myers on Victor
# "What's The Matter With The Moon Tonight?" (w. Sydney Rosenfeld m. A. Baldwin Sloane)
- Arthur Clifford on Edison
# "When The Fields Are White With Cotton" (w. Robert F. Roden w. Max S. Witt)
- Franklyn Wallace on Edison
# "When We Were Two Little Boys" (w. Edward Madden m. Theodore F. Morse)
- Billy Murray on Victor

Recorded in 1905

# "Absinthe Frappe" by Billy Murray
# "Asleep In The Deep" by Peter Dawson
# "Asthore" by Peter Dawson & Ethel Cadman
# "Auld Lang Syne" by Nellie Melba w. chorus and the Coldstream Guards Band
# "Ave Maria" by Nellie Melba with violin by Kubelik
# "Bedouin Love Song" by Peter Dawson
# "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms" by James McCool
# "Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind" by Peter Dawson
# "Bonnie Banks O' Loch Lomon'" by Peter Dawson
# "Bunker Hill" by Billy Murray
# "Can't You See That I'm Lonely?" by Billy Murray
# "Can't You See That I'm Lonely?" by Harry Tally
# "Columbia, The Gem Of The Ocean" by Harry Macdonough
# "Come Back To Erin" by Nellie Melba w. chorus and the Coldstream Guards Band
# "Daddy's Little Girl" by Byron G. Harlan
# "Dearie" by Corinne Morgan & Haydn Quartette
# "Down At The Old Bull And Bush" by Peter Dawson
# "Eileen Alannah" by Peter Dawson
# "Everybody Works But Father" by Lew Dockstader
# "Everybody Works But Father" by Billy Murray
# "Farewell, Mister Abner Hemingway" by Billy Murray & Bob Roberts
# "Father O'Flynn" by William Hooley
# "Friends That Are Good And True" by Billy Murray
# "Gee ! But This Is A Lonesome Town" by Billy Murray
# "Give My Regards To Broadway" by Frank Kernell
# "Give My Regards To Broadway" by Billy Murray
# "God Save The King" by Nellie Melba with the Coldstream Guards Band
# "Good-bye Flo" by Billy Murray & Haydn Quartette
# "Good-Bye!" by Nellie Melba with piano accompaniment by Landon Ronald
# "Good-bye, Sweet Old Manhattan Isle" by Harry Tally
# "Grandfather's Clock" by Haydn Quartette
# "Have You Seen Maggie Riley?" by Billy Murray
# "He's Me Pal" by Ada Jones
# "Home, Sweet Home" by Nellie Melba p. Landon Ronald
# "How'd You Like To Spoon With Me?" by Corinne Morgan & Haydn Quartette
# "I Cannot Sing The Old Songs" by Richard Jose
# "I Love A Lassie" by Harry Lauder
# "If A Girl Like You Loved A Boy Like Me" by Harry Macdonough
# "I'm The Only Star That Twinkles On Broadway" by Ada Jones
# "In Dear Old Georgia" by Frank C. Stanley
# "In My Merry Oldsmobile" by Billy Murray
# "In The Evening By The Moonlight" by Edison Male Quartette
# "In The Evening By The Moonlight" by Haydn Quartette
# "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree" by Pryor's Orchestra
# "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree" by Harry Macdonough & Haydn Quartette
# "In The Shade Of The Old Apple Tree" by Henry Burr
# "It Ain't All Honey And It Ain't All Jam" by Vesta Victoria
# "It's All Right In The Summertime" by Vesta Victoria
# "It's Allus De Same In Dixie" by Billy Murray & Haydn Quartet
# "I've Got A Little Money And I've Saved It All For You" by Billy Murray & Bob Roberts
# "I've Sweethearts In Every Port" by Billy Murray
# "John Anderson, My Jo" by Henry Burr
# "Keep A Little Cosy Corner In Your Heart For Me" by Harry Macdonough & Haydn Quartette
# "Lazy Moon" by Billy Murray w. Haydn Quartette
# "The Leader Of The German Band" by Collins & Harlan
# "A Lemon In The Garden Of Love" by Billy Murray
# "Lo! Here The Gentle Lark" by Nellie Melba with flute by Fransella
# "Loch Lomond" by Henry Burr
# "Loch Lomond" by Peter Dawson
# "Meet Me Down At Luna, Lena" by Billy Murray & Haydn Quartet
# "The Moon Hath Raised Her Lamp Above" by Peter Dawson & Wilfred Virgo
# "My Dusky Rose" by Harry Tally
# "My Gal Sal" by Byron G. Harlan
# "My Irish Maid" by Billy Murray
# "My Irish Molly O" by Arthur Collins
# "My Irish Molly O" by Harry Tally
# "Nellie Dean" by Harry Macdonough
# "Nobody" by Arthur Collins
# "Oh! Oh! Sallie" by Billy Murray & Bob Roberts
# "Old Folks At Home" by Nellie Melba & chorus (Gwladys Roberts, Ernest Pike & Peter Dawson)
# "On An Automobile Honeymoon" by Harry Tally
# "Paddy's Day" by Billy Murray
# "The Palms" by Emilio de Gogorza
# "A Picnic For Two" by Byron G. Harlan
# "A Picnic For Two" by Harry Tally
# "The Pipes Of Pan" by Peter Dawson
# "The Preacher And The Bear" by Arthur Collins
# "Put Me In My Little Cell" by Billy Murray
# "Robinson Crusoe's Isle" by Billy Murray
# "Rocked In The Cradle Of The Deep" by Peter Dawson
# "Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown" by Arthur Collins
# "Scots Wha' Hae Wi' Wallace Bled" by Henry Burr
# "Silence And Fun" by Sousa's Band
# "Simon The Cellarer" by Peter Dawson
# "Since Nellie Went Away" by Richard Jose
# "Sweethearts In Every Town" by Harry Tally
# "Tammany" by Collins & Harlan
# "'Tis I" by Peter Dawson
# "Under The Anheuser Bush" by Billy Murray
# "Wait 'Til The Sun Shines, Nellie" by Harry Tally
# "Waiting At The Church" by Florrie Forde
# "When The Bell In The Lighthouse Rings Ding Dong" by Frank C. Stanley
# "When You And I Were Young, Maggie" by Richard Jose
# "When You And I Were Young, Maggie" by Corinne Morgan & Frank C. Stanley
# "The Whistler And His Dog" by Pryor's Band
# "Whoa, You Heifer!" by Columbia Orchestra
# "The Whole Damm Family" by Billy Murray
# "Why Don't You Try?" by Harry Tally
# "Will You Love Me In December" by Harry Macdonough & Haydn Quartette
# "Won't You Fondle Me?" by Billy Murray & Bob Roberts
# "The Yankee Doodle Boy" by Billy Murray
# "Ye Banks And Braes O' Bonnie Doon" by Henry Burr


Books 1905
1905  "What You Goin’ To Do When the Rent Comes ‘Round?" 
           by Harry Von Tilzer 
1905  "In My Merry Oldsmobile" by Gus Edwards 
1905  "Shade Of the Old Apple Tree" by Egbert Van Alstyne 
1903  The Call Of the Wild  by Jack London - this story is about a sled dog named Buck, and his adventures with his many owners. 
1905  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair 

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