The phonograph can easily be considered one of the greatest inventions in history. It gave humanity the ability to record and reproduce sound, but it would also lead to the birth of a whole new consumer market. Throughout the 20th century, the phonograph has allowed consumers to have their favorite songs at their fingertips; a capability that would revolutionize the music industry.
On this day, February 19th, in 1878, Thomas Edison was granted a patent for the phonograph. Edison’s invention was not the first device to record sound, but it was the first to be able to reproduce it. Edison’s phonograph featured the use of phonographic cylinder covered with tinfoil. Others would go on to make key improvements to Edison’s design, such as wax-coated cylinders and later, the double-sided gramophone record.
Although the compact disc revolutionized music in the 1990s, the phonograph is still used more than a century after it was invented. Despite the introduction of CDs and mp3‘s into the music world, the iconic history of the record and the phonograph will insure that they never become obsolete. Records made a surprising return in the late 2000s, with LP sales increasing 90% in 2008.