About This Site



About Phonographia

Since I was a little boy I've been fascinated by the phonograph.

My paper-route made it possible to buy my first Victrola when I was twelve. Auctions were an early source for acquiring a talking machine and my father and I would sometimes spend hours waiting to bid on a phonograph with its morning-glory horn. We weren't very sophisticated buyers and had limited funds so we unfortunately didn't pursue rare machines. But it was always fun and there was alot of serendipity in our collecting.

Through the years my interest in phonographs has taken some turns, from phonographs (the pre-1920 machines and records) to toy phonographs to talking toys that used internal 'records' and finally to less space demanding phonograph ephemera (postcards, advertisements, lithographs, etc.).

Cultural questions related to the phonograph and how it was marketed to the home have always been of particular interest to me. But in truth anything connected with the phonograph seems to catch my attention: talking machines, stories about the phonograph, artwork, advertisments and all sorts of phono ephemera are for me all footprints and pieces of the phonograph's history.

I chose Phonographia (think phonograph memorabilia) as this site's name because it's meant to include any memory or connection with the phonograph.

The Phonograph literally engraved its history into records but it also literally was a revolution of sound with records revolving at different rpms and with captured sound reproduced by a variety of talking machines.

Phonographia originated in 2001 as an internet site and it continues to be a work-in-progress.

I use images and information from many sources and sometimes it seems to look like a scrap-book of eccentric connections and memorabilia. But if anyone sees something that is incorrect, please let me know as my intent is to simply be a Friend of the Phonograph and tell its story from my perspective.





Corner of my collection, c.1966 in my parents basement (Photo courtesy of Doug Keister)





History and Story Telling:

How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History On Technology


Last year, two scientists presented a theory in quantum mechanics that they called “entangled histories.” They argue that the existence of a particle in space is fractured along many alternate timelines, all of which must be considered to understand the full chronology of its life cycle. It is baffling and exhilarating in the way only quantum physics can be, but one idea stood out as particularly resonant. Jordan Cotler, an author of the paper and a graduate student at Stanford Univer­sity, has said, “Our best description of the past is not a fixed chronology but multiple chronologies that are intertwined with each other.” We’ve long known that this is how human history works — an unimaginable number of small stories, compressed into one big one. But maybe now we finally have the ability to record and capture them all, and history can become something else entirely: not a handful of voices, but a cacophony.


Using the internet and arhives of social media to "generate a more prismatic recollection of history."