A PHONOPHAN'S PHUNDAMENTAL GLOSSARY OF TERMS:
(compiled by Fabrizio & Paul, all rights reserved)
first four-minute cylinder developed by
BACK MOUNT: A
term used to describe a talking machine which uses a back bracket which supports
the horn and thus removes its inertia from the SOUNDBOX. At the time, this
configuration was generally known as “tapering arm.”
metal motor mounting plate (often a casting) to which the upper mechanism of a
cylinder talking machine is mounted, and from which the motor is suspended.
smooth, grooveless unrecorded cylinder.
BLUE AMBEROL: The
blue celluloid four-minute cylinder sold by
assembly which “carries” the REPRODUCER of a cylinder talking machine
across the recording.
Devices offered by Edison to convert pre-1908 Phonographs to play four-minute
cylinders in addition to the two-minute variety.
The support used to mount horns of 15-inch length or greater to cylinder talking
A geometric form on which entertainment recordings were made, 1877-1929. The
earliest sheets of tinfoil were followed by self-supporting cylinders of
ozocerite-covered cardboard, stearic acid/paraffin, hard metallic soap, and
celluloid. Advantages of the cylinder format included a constant surface speed
and the ability to make home recordings.
The flexible, circular vibrating membrane of a SOUNDBOX or REPRODUCER which
converts mechanical energy to acoustic energy or sound waves. Mica, glass,
compressed paper, copper and aluminum were commonly used as diaphragms in early
The connection between the horn and the SOUNDBOX or TONE ARM of a disc talking
machine. Earliest elbows are made of leather, gradually giving way to metal
elbows after 1900.
A swinging arm which supports one end of the MANDREL on some cylinder talking
machines. To mount or remove a cylinder it is therefore necessary to open and
close the endgate.
A threaded rod which usually drives a half-nut fixed to the carriage of a
cylinder talking machine, thus guiding the reproducer across the record
grooves. Certain disc machines used FEEDSCREWS to drive the SOUNDBOX across the
record or to move the turntable beneath a fixed soundbox. Similarly, some
cylinder machines used feedscrews to drive a mandrel longitudinally beneath a
A term used to describe a disc machine where the horn attaches directly to the
SOUNDBOX, and the support arm (or mount) runs directly below and parallel to the
HORN. In such an arrangement the support arm points in the same general
direction as the bell of the horn. At the turn of the twentieth century, this
configuration was known as “straight arm.”
Originally the name by which Emile Berliner’s disc talking machine was known,
it became a generic term to denote any disc playing talking machine, but fell
out of use in the
The mechanical assembly in a talking machine motor which regulates the speed,
usually by limiting the outward movement of spinning weights.
An internally threaded metal piece usually in the form of a nut which has been
cut in half. The threads of the half-nut correspond to the threads of the
FEEDSCREW. As the feedscrew revolves, the half-nut will be propelled along it,
thus driving the CARRIAGE of a talking machine.
The type of disc talking machine recording where the information is encoded in
sides of the groove. (see VERTICAL RECORDING)
The tapered drum upon which the cylinder record is placed for playing.
The point (usually steel) of the SOUNDBOX which rides the grooves of the
recording and transmits vibrations to the DIAPHRAGM.
A colloquial term for the SOUNDBOX or PICK-UP which accepts vibrations directly
from the record.
A container to store and dispense steel talking machine needles.
NEEDLE SHARPENER (OR
A device for repointing disc talking machine needles of fiber, thorn or steel.
Originally, the name given by
A device comprising a DIAPHRAGM and cutter stylus for recording cylinder or disc
A device for cylinder or disc talking machines which returns the NEEDLE or
STYLUS to the beginning of the record after the selection has played.
The component comprising STYLUS, linkage and DIAPHRAGM, which reproduces the
sound from the record grooves. This term is most frequently applied to cylinder
machines. (See SOUNDBOX)
On a cylinder talking machine, a device which holds a knife in position to pare
the recorded surface from a wax cylinder.
The component comprising NEEDLE, linkage and DIAPHRAGM, which reproduces the
sound from the record grooves. This term is most frequently applied to disc
machines. (See REPRODUCER)
The point (usually sapphire or diamond) of the REPRODUCER which rides the
grooves of the recording and transmits vibrations to the DIAPHRAGM or PICK-UP.
A general term for sound reproducing devices playing either cylinder or disc
records, made prior to the advent of electric reproduction. Specific brands such
as Graphophone, Victrola or Amberola all fall within the general category of
talking machines. Modern American usage substitutes PHONOGRAPH for the older
term “talking machine.” For the purposes of historical accuracy, both terms
will appear frequently in this book.
A movable hollow tube which conducts sound to the HORN from the SOUNDBOX.
Rightly, the sleeve visible on either side of the CARRIAGE which slides over the
FEEDSCREW shaft on a Graphophone, but commonly used to denote the entire
The round platter which supports a disc record and revolves while the record is
being played. After 1960, that separate component in a SOUND SYSTEM which
comprised the TURNTABLE and RECORD CHANGER was often referred to simply as the
The type of cylinder or disc recording in which the sound vibrations are encoded
in the bottom of the groove. (see LATERAL RECORDING)
WAX: Although the material from which many cylinder records were made is generally referred to as “wax,” it was more rightly various formulations of metallic soap. The resemblance of this material to conventional wax promotes the common descriptive term
RETURN TO PHONOPHAN HOME PAGE