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By 1900, most of the major players, or their precursors, were established: the biggest manufacturers were Edison, Victor, and Columbia.
In principle, all phonographs work similarly: a groove on a spinning record causes a needle or stylus to vibrate.
Electric phonographs and modern wind-up reproduction phonographs are beyond the scope of this advice.
Many individuals wish to acquire a phonograph in order to use it, meaning for playing actual vintage records.
the increase in playing time is made by reducing the lateral speed of the needle across the surface of the cylinder.
Although all machines he made after this era were capable of playing the newer, longer records, he also offered conversion kits to retrofit earlier models. until superseded by a blue celluloid material in 1912.
Other important differences are noted in the method of sound reproduction: cylinder records and Edison Diamond Disc records (and some other disc records made by other manufacturers) are considered "vertical cut" records because the rounded jewel point (stylus) of the reproducer vibrates up and down as the groove passes under it. Although this is far from a comprehensive view of an industry that offered a huge and always changing complement of products at the time, similar to today's computer industry, it does indicate that significant differences could exist between any two vintage phonographs, even they if are from the same producer or year.
Despite the advantages and historical connection to the cylinder record at the Edison factory, the disc record was a much more convenient form of media. that derive from period sales literature and model designations.
Often people come to me and say, "I have a phonograph that has a platter, a crank on the side, and is really, really old. It is very old and the gas tank is on the right side. The dates on the patent plate show the dates which patents for certain components were issued. s patent plate lists a patent date in 1906, it is unlikely the machine was made in 1901, but since patents, then as now, lasted for many years, a manufacturer would advertise its claim to a patent for many, many years after the issue date. Other companies set aside blocks of serial numbers for particular models, and used some of the numbers, but not all.
In broad strokes, cylinder and disc phonographs coexisted for many years, so it is false to assume that a cylinder machine predates a disc player.
However, due to feverish patenting of new advances on the part of the manufacturers, and the stylistic changes occurring over time, wind-up acoustic phonographs changed immensely over their approximately 40 year reign as most popular entertainment device.
Although most phonographs from this era are spring-operated, the motors and winding cranks are not interchangeable between models, and even between many machines from a single maker. records because the steel needle of the reproducer moves side-to-side as it sits in the record's groove.