Gramophone PNG Transparent Images

Submitted by on Dec 10, 2020

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The Graphophone was the name and trademark of an improved version of the (gramophone) phonograph. It was invented in the Volta laboratory, created by Alexander Graham Bell in Washington, DC, USA.

Volta Graphophone subsequently acquired its use of the trademark, then by the American company Graphophone, a North American phonograph company, and finally by Columbia Phonograph (known today as Columbia Records), which either produced or sold Graphophones.

It took five years of research under Benjamin Hulme, Harvey Christmas, Charles Sumner Tainter, and Chichester Bell in the Volta Laboratory to develop and distinguish their machine from the phonograph Thomas Edison.

Among their innovations, researchers experimented with side recording techniques as early as 1881. Unlike the vertically cut grooves of Edison’s phonographs, the stylus was used in the side recording method, which moved from side to side in the form of a “zigzag” pattern through the recording. While cylindrical phonographs never used the commercial side-cutting process, this later became the phonograph disc’s primary writing method.


Bell and Tainter have also developed wax-coated cardboard cylinders for their record cylinder. Edison’s grooved mandrel coated with a removable sheet of foil (actual recording medium) was prone to damage during installation or removal. Tainter received a separate patent for a tube assembly machine to automatically manufacture core rolls of cardboard tubes from wax cylinders. The transition from foil to wax has led to improved sound quality and record durability.

In addition to being much easier to handle, wax media are also available for longer recordings and superior playback quality. Also, the graphophones first deployed foot pedals to rotate the tapes, then turned on the clockwork, and finally switched to electric motors instead of the handgrip on Edison’s phonograph.

In 1885, when Volta’s laboratory staff were confident that they had several practical inventions, they applied for a patent and began looking for investors. The Volta Graphophone Company of Alexandria, Virginia, was established on January 6, 1886, and registered on February 3, 1886. It was created to control patents and the commercial development of their inventions in sound recording and reproduction, one of which was the first recorder.

After Volta Associates held several demonstrations in Washington, DC, business people from Philadelphia created the US company Graphophone on March 28, 1887, to manufacture and sell machines for the emerging phonograph market. Then Volta Graphophone teamed up with the American Graphophone,

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