This article is part of the Noteworthy News archives.
News of Edison's tinfoil machine was illustrated in the New York Graphic of 1878.
Tin foil horns were typically plain rolled metal. A few looked like crude stovepipes, with no taper. The horn on the Brady machine suggested a telephone mouthpiece.
An octopus of listening tubes appears to engulph this Graphophone.(Courtesy Allen Koenigsberg)
Listening tubes were necessary
because of the faint volume of early brown wax records.
The tubes were made of rubber, with gutta percha earpieces. Deluxe models were sold with glass earpieces, or telegraphic headphones.
Coin-operated machines equipped with listening rails could accomodate as many as fourteen customers. Linen napkins were supplied for cleanliness.
Brass bell horn with optional flowers is attributed to Standard Metal Manufacturing.
By 1897 manufacturers had begun
to smooth out the horns and to apply a beaded bell.
Belled or trumpet horns were made by companies such as Standard Metal Manufacturing, the New Jersey Sheet Metal Company, and Hawthorne and Sheble, which wrapped some of its horns in silk beginning 1905.
Seamless or sawtooth horns were higher end merchandise, usually made of a heavier and better grade of brass.
Quality reproductions of glass horns were offered at the September automated music show.
Always of continental origin, fluted glass horns made in Paris were advertised in the Dec. 1899 Phonoscope.
Unidentified gentleman demonstrates the strength of Standard Metal's Ajax horn for the readers of Talking Machine World in 1906.
The basic design was probably
invented by Hawthorne and Shebles Horace Sheble, who applied for
a patent of a petalled horn in January, 1905.
Petalled horns, referred to in the trade as flower horns or morning glory horns, offered lower cost of manufacture than spun brass, and distributed the sound better for the size. Concave and convex scallops were seen.
Major manufacturers included Hawthorne and Sheble, Standard Metal Manufacturing, the Tea Tray Company, and the Searchlight Company, father of a ribbed horn constructed on the scientific principle of a searchlight reflector.
The patent for the familiar Edison morning glory horn was issued to Charles Eichorn in 1905, who sold the rights to the Tea Tray Company of Newark, New Jersey, a long established metal working concern. The Tea Tray Company manufactured Edisons horns, as well as its own line of aftermarket amplifiers.
First wooden horn on the market, the TrueTone horn was touted as rattle and vibration free.
Wooden horns and wood-grained
metal horns of mahogany, golden and flemish oak were introduced in 1907.
The Truetone horn, a petalled wooden horn, was advertised for sale in 1907 for $7.50 with a 23 inch bell. The horn was employed on some Columbia models.
The seamless wooden horn found on most Edisons and Victors was patented by Stanislaus Moss in April 1908. The horns were constructed for the industry by Sheip and Vandergrift, cabinetmakers in Philadelphia long associated with the trade. A minimum order of 500 horns was required.
As on Edison's Cygnet, the bell could be separated from the elbow of Devineau's Ideal.
Vertical horns saved space
and interpreted with acoustic superiority, although their fidelity was
probably fortuitous and not a result of scientific research.
Edisons Opera horn of 1911 and his Cygnet horn of 1909 were probably influenced by the all-aluminum self-supporting Devineau of 1907. The Cygnet (swan shaped) design was patented in 1908 by Peter Weber, one of Edisons in-house inventors.
Copyright 2015 Lynn Bilton
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