Edison Tinfoil Phonograph - Bergmann



This article is part of the ANTIQUE PHONOGRAPH, GRAMOPHONE AND TALKING MACHINE IDENTIFICATION GUIDES.
SEE ALSO: Our listings of outside horn talking machines for sale.


Although Edison's invention of the tin foil machine in 1877 was greeted with great publicity, development languished for several years, with the phonograph being a only scientific curiosity, while Edison busied himself with greater endeavors such as the electrification of New York City. A few tin foil machines were used in exhibitions before a curious public, but the commercial potential of the phonograph was limited, as the strip of tinfoil could not be removed from the mandrel without damage, thereby eliminating the possibility of interchangeable records.

A number of entrepreneurs in the United States and on the Continent tried their hand at tin foil phonograph construction. Sigmund Bergmann, a manufacturer of electrical appliances in New York, probably sold the machine depicted below in 1878.


Edison tinfoil phonograph - Bergmann
This beautifully constructed Bergmann tin foil phonograph was exhibited in the antique phonograph show at Union, Illinois in 2011.
(Courtesy Steve and Jeff Oliphant)
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