From the Land of Band Box Records

Talking Machines

Edison Leads the Way

I had the pleasure recently of visiting the home of a good friend of mine and getting to view his collection of early vintage record players – i.e. “Talking Machines”.

Edison and His Talking Machine 1880’s


The first phonograph was introduced in the 1880’s by non other than inventor Thomas Edison.  The invention employed recorded sounds onto a rotating cylinder enclosed by a tinfoil sheet.  Edison was far from being the first to record sound but Edison’s model was the first that was able to both record and playback recordings.

Many different manufacturer’s stepped up to compete and in 1894 the inventor Emile Berliner introduced the first disc playing unit – the “Gramophone”.  Talking machines were moderately popular with the public but not on a large scale due to the cost and limited availability of recordings.  Then along came World War I in 1914 and America turned its attention to the machinery of war – bringing production of talking machines to a slow crawl.

When the war came to a close – manufacturers were free to turn their attention and facilities back to the production of “talking machines”.  The public was ready to buy and an explosion occurred in the industry.

Things would change dramatically as the 1920’s arrived and the radio was introduced into households.  Most manufacturers were finished, with only the big boys continuing on through that decade.  Next, the Great Depression arrived causing many of the larger manufacturers to merge together or go out of business.  Juke boxes found favor in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s and enjoyed a nice run into the late 1950’s until small transistor radios and portable cassette players arrived signaling the end of the Juke Box era.

Early Wurtlizer Ad September, 1945

Following the Leader

Popping up with the talking machine manufacturers were endless manufacturers of tone arms, motors, cabinets & cabinet covers, springs lubricants, needles and, of course, record providers.

Okeh Records seemed to be the most aggressive record label as far as promotion went – That of course would soon be more than challenged by Victor, Columbia and Brunswick.

Tone Arms – A Big Deal

1907 Record Provider

World Peace!

The images shown above is of a talking machine that was used by English military during their campaigns in France – The player sustained battle damage but survived and has the names of various battles written about the casing.  The machine made its way to a museum after the war.  As

Battle Survivor

The Fabulous Talking Machines

Following is a presentation of many of the manufacturers both pre and post WWI.

The Aeolian-Vocalion (Aleolian Co. NJ) – 1918

The Ajax Horn (New Jersey Sheet Metal) – 1907

Allen Portables (Allen-Hough Manufacturing Co. NY) – 1927

The American (American Phonograph Co. MI) – 1918

The Art Tone (Tea Tray Co. NJ) – 1907

The Baby Grand (Fern-O-Grand Co. OH) – 1920

The Beacon (Beacon Phonograph Co. MA) – 1919

The Brooks Repeating (Brooks M’F’G’ Co. MI) – 1920

Brunswick – 1920

The Bush and Lane (Bush & Lane Piano Co. MI) – 1918

The Cardinal (Cardinal Phonograph Co. OH) – 1919

The Carmen Reproducer (G.W. Huntley Co. IL) – 1920

Carryola Master & Lassie Portables (Carryola Company of America WI) – 1927

The Cathedral (Cathedral Phono Co. NE) – 1920

The Cheney (Cheney Talking Machine Co. IL) – 1919

The Claxtonola (Brenard Mfg Co. IA) – 1919

The Cleartone (Lucky 13 Phonograph Co. NY) – 1918

The Converto (C.J. Lundstrom Co. NY) – 1918

Crafts (A.J. Crafts Piano Co. VA) – 1919

The Culptone (Culp Phono Co. NY) – 1919

The Dalion (Milwaukee Talking Machine Mfg. Co. WI) – 1919

The Davenola Master Musician (Davenport Cabinet Works IA) – 1919

The Delpheon (Delpheon Co. MI) – 1918

The Diamond Amberola (Thomas Edison, Inc. NJ) – 1918

The Echo-Phone (United Talking Machine Co. – NY) – 1909

The Empire (Empire Talking Machine Co. IL) – 1918

The Excel (Excel Cabinet Co. NY) – 1920

The Fairy (Endless-Graph Mfg Co. IL) – 1919

The Federal (Federal Phono & Supply Co. IL) – 1919

Garford Model E (The General Phono Mfg. Co. OH) – 1920

The Grafonola (Columbia Graphophone Co. NY) – 1918

The Granby (Grandy Corp. VA) – 1920

The Harponola (Harponola Co. OH) – 1923

The Heywood-Wakefield (Heywood Brothers & Wakefield Co. NY) 1920

The Hiawatha (Hiawatha Phono Co. IL) – 1919

The Hoffay (Hoffay Talking Machine Co. NY) – 1919

The Hymnophon (Bettini Phonograph Co. NY) – 1905

The Independent (Independent Talking Machine Co. MA) – 1919

The Kimball (Kimball Hall IL) – 1923

The Kompakt Horn (New Jersey Sheet Metal) – 1907

L’ Artiste (Grand Rapids Phono Co. MI) – 1919

The Lampograph (Lampograph COIL) – 1920

The Lauzon (Michigan Phono Co. MI) – 1919

The Lawson Universal (Lawson Piano Co. NY) – 1919

The Librola (Seaburg Mfg. Co. NY) – 1920

The Ludlow (A.J. Crafts Piano Co. VA) – 1919

The Lurolian (American Talking Machine Co. PA) – 1920

The Maestrola (Fulton Talking Machine Co. NY) – 1919

The Magnola (Magnola Talking Machine Co. IL) – 1923

The Mandel (Mandel Mfg Co. IL) – 1919

The Manophone (Manophone Corp. MI) – 1920

The Master Tone (Iroquois Sales Corp. NY) – 1919

The Modernola (Modernola Co. NY) – 1920

The Motrola (Jones Motrola Inc. NY) – 1920

The Natural Voice (Natural Voice Phono Co. NY) – 1919

The Nightingale (Nightingale Mfg. IL) – 1918

The Operolla (Operollo Phono Co. MI) – 1919

The Outing Portable (Outing Talking Machine Co. NY) – 1923

The Oxford (Mundler Corp. NY) – 1920

The Pal Deluxe (Plaza Music Co. NY) – 1925

Pathe’s Phonos  (Pathe Freres London) – 1907

The Phoenix (Phoenix Phono Co. IL) – 1919

The Phon-O-Bench Co. (Phon-O-Bench Co. IL) 1920

The Puritan (United Phono Corp. WI) – 1919

The Radiola (Newcombe-Hawley Co. VA) – 1927

The Rishell Mirror of Tone (Rishell Phono Co. PA) – 1920

The Sona-Tone (Sona-Tone Phono Inc. NY) – 1919

The Starr (Starr Piano Co. IN) – 1919

The Steger (Steger & Sons IL) – 1912

The Steinburn (Stein-Burn Corp. IL) – 1919

The Stewart (Stewart Phono Corp. NY) – 1920

The Stradivara Art Phonograph (Compton-Price Co. OH) – 1918

The Strand (Manufacturers Phonograph Co. NY) – 1923

The Supertone (Supertone Talking Machine Co. NY) – 1919

The Swanson Thin (Consolidated Talking Machine Co. IL) – 1927

The Tablatone (DeRivas & Harris Co. NY) – 1919

The Telotone (Western News Co. IL) – 1918

The Vanophone (Garford Mfg. Co. OH) – 1919

The Veritone (Veritone Talking Machine Co. NY) – 1919

The Victor Talking Machine (Victor NJ) – 1910

The Victor Supremacy (Victor NJ) – 1918

The Victory Model 77 (Otto Heineman Phono Supply NY) – 1919

The Vitanola (Vitanola Talking Machines IL) – 1918

The Wade (Wade Talking Machine Co. ) – 1919

The Widdicomb (Widdicomb Furniture Co. MI) – 1920

The Wilsonian (Thos. E. Wilson & Co. IL) – 1918

The Windsor (Windsor Furniture Co. IL) – 1920

The World (World Phono Co. IL) – 1919

%d bloggers like this: