Gadget from history: His Master’s Voice

His Master's Voice gramophone

His Master’s Voice gramophone

We found this gramophone at a trash ‘n treasure market and hauled it back to the Office to join our eclectic collection of music- and film-related contraptions.

The machine has many faults. It plays at an uncontrollably loud volume, is ridiculously fiddly to operate, makes short and brutal work of any record it plays and, when in close proximity, can only be tolerated playing for a few minutes.

But it’s still a wonderful gadget, subversive and revolutionary in its own time. One can only imagine the shock and pleasure that the first listeners must have had when recorded music became portable for the first time.

Perhaps their expressions were a little like those of the people in this short video by British Pathe, describing a brief history of the gramophone:

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