The difference between Gramophone, Phonograph and Phonolamp (video)

The first phonograph, invented by Thomas Edison, was patented in the United States in September of 1887. Gramophone, pathéphone, phonograph, phonolamp, "talking machine" – there are all sorts of names for gramophone record players! What is the difference between them? A story about the difference between the listed sound-producing devices in the Museum Stories column tries to figure it out.

Let's get to details:

  • In essence, a gramophone is a type of phonograph, but instead of cylinders, discs are used to record and play back sound. The same discs that later became known as records.
  • Patent for gramophone prohibited companies from using this name to sell their recording and playback devices, so companies had to come up with their own names. For example, in the USA, such terms as graphophone, phonograph, victrola, "talking machine" and others were used to describe a mechanical gramophone record player.
  • A gramophone, the invention of the Charles and Emile Pathé brothers Company, can be called a variation of the gramophone. Having created a gramophone of a peculiar design, in appearance not much different from a common one, brothers Pathé named it in their honour – pathéphone. But still there were several significant differences between pathéphone and the gramophone. First of all, it was the "perpetual" sapphire needle, which did not require replacement and reduced noise that improved the sound quality, moreover, Pathé records were played not from edge to center, as usual, but on the contrary - from center to edge.

The museum website is constantly updated with new exhibits. Today we present you the updates in the section "Recording and Playback devices”.

On the cover: "Pathé Olophone" gramophone. Pathé Frères. France, 1918