Friday, 4 September 2015

THE DICTAPHONE IN 1894. BETTER THAN EDISON’S MACHINE!

A notice appeared in the Wiener Tagblatt of July 10, 1894:
Albert Kötzlow has invented and built a new phonograph. It surpasses Edison’s instrument in that it is very simple and cheap and can be worked by any non-specialist. It does everything with respect to speech, song or music that Edison’s phonograph does. The sound waves are transcribed to a cylinder by means of a membrane to which a stylus is attached, or through a so-called writing knife shaped like a pin. ..The rolls are made of hard soap and if used gently will yield several thousand reproductions. For practical purposes -- the reproduction of speech in lieu of stenography -- it is sufficient to turn the phonograph by hand. For the reproduction of music or song one needs a very regularly running motor… The costs are low, hardly more than the cost of paper, since a roll can take 1000 words and be played back about 250 times…the cost of acquiring the apparatus is also low, and repairs hardly ever required. Thus Kötzlow’s apparatus is clearly useful for practical business purposes, which can hardly be said of Edison’s phonograph.

Költzow opened the first phonograph factory in Berlin, 1890. He worked together with the locksmith Paul Pfeiffer and the mechanic Carl Lindström, whose company, Lindström Inc., became a global player in the recording industry in the 20th century.


 (Source: Wiener Zeitung, 10 July 1894; my translation) 

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