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Emile Berliner first demonstrated his Gramophone in 1888. The following year, the German toy manufacturers Kammer & Reinhardt agreed to produce Berliner's invention and press the first 5-inch discs. As this machine from the early 1890s shows, Berliner's machine was of a very simple design.
Berliner's discs produced sounds from a laterally moving stylus (as opposed to the vertical motion required to play cylinders). To record sounds, the stylus cut a wavy groove analogous to the sound wave through a layer of wax on a flat disc with a zinc base. The disc was then immersed in an acid which ate away the zinc only where it was exposed by the groove in the wax. The resulting zinc disc was used as a master to produce the negative mould which could then press countless copies of a recording. The ease with which discs were mass produced gave them a significant commercial advantage over cylinders.
Size (mm): W 352 x D 200
with horn: W 430 x H 345
Listen Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (rec.1890)
| © The British Library Board
The small 12.5 cm disc from which this recording comes was designed to be played on the Kammer & Reinhardt toy gramophone. It is one of the earliest recordings sold on a gramophone disc and is believed to be the voice of Emile Berliner.
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