Emil Berliner was born in 1851 in Hanover in a large Jewish family. Parents wanted him to work in the textile industry, as they did, but Emil began to learn the profession of a printer, and in 1870, fleeing service in the Prussian army, he emigrated to the United States.
The young man settled in Washington and at first lived on casual earnings, reading books on electrical engineering and acoustics in the evenings. At that time in the United States everyone literally raved about electricity, a lot of inventors and handicraftsmen developed mechanisms using "fabulous new energy". America was already covered with a network of telegraph wires.
First, Emil Berliner tackled the problem of transmitting for a distance the human voice, but Alexander Bell was ahead of him: he patented his phone in 1867. However, Berliner did not drop his hands, continued working on his device and in 1877 patented a coal microphone. Bell was amazed both by the quality of this microphone, and by the fact that a self-taught person has developed such a classy device. Bell invited Berliner to his laboratory.
Berliner continued to work in Bell's laboratory, and in 1883, after his brothers opened a telephone factory in Hanover, he decided to become an independent entrepreneur and took up recording.
The first attempts to record the sound were made by the great American inventor Thomas Edison and in 1877 he presented his instrument, which reproduced a short poem written on the cylinder, read by himself. A few years later, Edison developed and patented a phonograph. The phonograph had a huge drawback: the recordings were unique, it was almost impossible to reproduce them. In addition, the recorded voice was quiet and distorted.
The very first gramophone record in history was made by Berliner in 1888 from celluloid. Gramophone records offeree for sale in the early 90's were made of ebonite. Both of these materials were not suitable for the intended purpose, because they were not easy to press and therefore the relief of the matrix was not accurately reproduced.
After many experiments, in 1896 Berliner created a special shellac mass (it included shellac - a resin of organic origin, heavy spar, ash and some other substances), which remained for many decades the main material for the records production.
Berliner wanted to develop a new technology that would make it easy to produce and reproduce audio recordings. He succeeded surprisingly quickly: in just four years. As a result, he received a patent for a device, which he called a gramophone.
In 1895 in Philadelphia Berliner founded his own firm, which produced both records and gramophones. Three years later, his brothers opened a similar company in Berlin, which was named Deutsche Grammophon, and records and equipment were produced in Hanover. Deutsche Grammophon label exists till now. This is one of the most famous recording companies in the world.
Later inventions of Berliner refer to the aircraft industry. In 1908, he designed the first light aircraft engine with a star-shaped arrangement of cylinders, and in 1919-1926 built and successfully tested in the air three helicopters.
In the US, Berliner is also known as the founder of the Society for Disease Prevention.