Skip to main content

Commonplace Comments

February 2024
1min read

In your article about Margaret Woodbury Strong’s museum, there is an error in a piclure caption: the “tin” (i.e., steel) horn is sprouting not from a Gramophone bul from a phonograph. The word phonograph , originally an Kdison trademark, was adopted by the public as a generic term for cylinder record players, and eventually ( in the United States ) for all record players, regardless of the shape of the records they played. Because of the Kdison trademark, competing companies had to invent their own names, such as Graphophone (Columbia) or Talking Machine (Victor), to describe what il was they were selling. Gramophone was a trademark owned originally by F.mile Berliner, who developed the flat disk record, and the name came to be used in this country shortly before the turn of the century to designate any disk (but not cylinder) record player. Conversely, because of variations in the patent situations, in most other countries Gramophone became the generic term for all record players, while phonograph retained its earlier connotation of a cylinder machine.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate