Music Time Line

  • Printing Telegraph

    Printing Telegraph
    The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company is founded
    in Rochester, New York, which will become Western Union -- the first electronic
    message service (also offering the service of delivered Telegrams.)
  • Telegraph

    The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company acquires several
    competing companies and changes its name to Western Union; its service of delivering
    Telegrams will continue until January 27, 2006 -- 150 years after the name change.
  • First Communication

    First Communication
    Western Union completes the first transcontinental telegraph line -- providing fast,
    coast-to-coast communications during the U.S. Civil War.
  • Microphone

    Emile Berliner invents the first microphone and sells the rights to Bell Telephone
  • Phonograph

    Edison invents the cylinder "phonograph" used to record and playback sound. Originally
    thought to be useful as a business machine for dictation (like the dictaphone which would
    come later.) Other uses: recordings of plays pre-dating Radio Drama nearly 50 years
  • Magnetic Sound Recording

    Magnetic Sound Recording
    Danish inventor Valdemar Poulson invents magnetic wire sound recording
  • First million dallor song

    First million dallor song
    The first "million-seller" song hit (sold via sheet music) was "After The Ball"
    by Charles K. Harris, who was both its composer and publisher
  • First Orchestra

    First Orchestra
    An orchestra is used with (silent) motion pictures for the first time in April in London
  • Gramohone Disks

    Gramohone Disks
    Shellac gramophone disks developed by Emile Berliner - speeds will vary on discs
    issued by companies in different countries (80 rpm was used on some British recordings)
  • Wireless Telegraphy

    Wireless Telegraphy
    Guglielmo Marconi is granted his first British patent for wireless telegraphy.
  • First Nickelodeon movie

    First Nickelodeon movie
    April 16 - "The Electric Theater" in Los Angeles is opened by Thomas L. Tally: the first Nickelodeon, a multimedia movie palace, that spawned imitators nationwide;
  • Victrola

    RCA Victor's "Victrola" model record player is introduced. It has a variable turntable
    speed control to accomodate the wide range of phonograph records produced at that
    time; Victor's speeds ranged from 71 - 76 rpm. Columbia was producing discs as 80rpm.
    Some British disks even rotated between 66rpm - 90rpm; Although U.S. phonograph
    manufacturers agreed in 1928 to standardize on the rate of 78.26 rpm, it still took
    decades for more stan
  • Double Sided Record

    Double Sided Record
    The first double-sided phonograph records are introduced by Columbia. Soon its
    competitors follow suit; Prior to this time, all records had sound only on one side;
    the back side was a blank (un-grooved) side.
  • Wireless Voice Broadcasts

    Wireless Voice Broadcasts
    Charles "Doc" Herrold and his assistant Ray Newby begin experimental "wireless"
    voice and music broadcasts from San Jose, California using experimental radio station
    call letters "FN" and "SJN". They transmit with a series of arcing street lamps under liquid
  • The Squaw Man

    The Squaw Man
    Cecil B. DeMille and Jesse Lasky produce the first "feature-length" film called
    "The Squaw Man"
  • First Call

    First Call
    First transcontinental telephone call from New York to San Francisco on July 29th.
  • Loudspeaker

    AT&T engineer C. G. Hensley got the idea for the loudspeaker when he thought about
    what would happen if he made a telephone receiver really big.
  • Jazz

    The Orig. Dixieland Jass <sic> Band (ODJB) makes the first "Jazz" recording.
  • Radio

    Commercial AM Radio broadcasting begins on KDKA, Philadelphia.
  • Electrical Records

    Electrical Records
    Electrical records replace acoustic discs, via a process developed by Western Electric.
  • Sound Systems

    Sound Systems
    Vitaphone introduces a sound system to synchronize music and sound effects with a
    motion picture; It uses a 16-inch disc turntable that is connected by gears to the
    projector mechanism. Operators have to continuously adjust the synchronization of
    the grooves to the picture, which was not perfect. Later the speed and size of these
    discs (16-inches running at approximately 33rpm) is utilized by some radio stations
    stations and networks fo
  • Don Juan

    Don Juan
    Bell Laboratories develops a 33 1/3 rpm disk system to synchronize a music track for
    the Warner Brothers film "Don Juan" containing music composed by William Axt. This
    system is similar to the Vitaphone system introduced months earlier. Both competing
    systems -- the "Vitaphone system" and the "Bell/Warner Bros. system", as well as the
    use of transcription discs by radio stations/networks, inspire the introduction of
    33rpm disks later --
  • Televisor

    Scotsman John Logie Baird invents mechanical television which he calls a "Televisor",
    a postcard-sized black and pink (not black and white) image with 30 scan lines running
    at a flickering 12 1/2 frames per second.
  • National Broadcasting Company

    National Broadcasting Company
    NBC -- the "National Broadcasting Company" begins as the first radio network.
    The inauguration of the NBC Radio network was celebrated on November 15th with a
    4 1/2 hour gala broadcast from the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, NY;
    it was estimated half of the nation's 5 million radio sets were tuned in for the broadcast;
    Quickly two networks ("chains" of stations) were distinguished -- one was called the
    "NBC Red Network" and the
  • Movie-Tone News

    Movie-Tone News
    "Movie-Tone News" talking theatrical newsreels debut May 25th in New York City.