The History of Music Technology

By Sojka
  • The First Microphone..

    The First Microphone..
    Emile Berliner invents the first microphone and sells the rights to Bell Telephone.
  • The First Phonograph

    The First 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).
  • First Flat Record Player

    First Flat Record Player
    Emile Berliner invents the flat record player ("gramophone") using acoustic horn and licenses technology to record companies who make "70-rpm" disks.
  • Magnatic Wire Sound

    Magnatic Wire Sound
    Danish inventor Valdemar Poulson invents magnetic wire sound recording.
  • First Jukebox

    First Jukebox
    Louis Glass invents the modern jukebox (coin-operated phonograph) and installs it at the "Palais Royal" saloon in San Francisco where it is an immediate hit.
  • First Million-Seller Song

    First Million-Seller 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.
  • Flat Disks

    Flat Disks
    Eldredge Johnson perfects first system of mass duplication of pre-recorded flat disks.
  • The Victrola

    The 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 standered speeds to be used worldwide.
  • Double Sided Phonograph Records

    Double Sided Phonograph Records
    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 side.
  • Wireless Voice

    Wireless Voice
    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.
  • First Radio Station

    First Radio Station
    Charles "Doc" Herrold begins the first regular public radio broadcasting of voice and music from his "wireless telegraph college" in San Jose, California; He calls it "The Herrold Station" and transmits to audiences from San Jose to San Francisco.
  • Disk Recordings

    Disk Recordings
    Disk recordings overtake cylinders in the popular market. Columbia drops cylinders.
  • First Disk PLayer

    First Disk PLayer
    Edison Co. finally introduces a disk player, now that the cylinder market is gone.
  • First Jazz Song

    First Jazz Song
    The Original Dixieland Jass Band makes the first "Jazz" recording.
  • AM Radio

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

    Electronic Records
    Electrical records replace acoustic discs, via a process developed by Western Electric.
  • Home Viewing Movies

    Home Viewing Movies
    Dutch-born Iwan Surrerier re-designs his rear-projection device for home viewing movies into a machine to make film editing easier, and sold his first one to Douglas Fairbanks.
  • Vitaphone

    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 is utilized by some radio stations stations and networks for "transcribing" radio programs for later re-broadcast at a different time.
  • Synchronizing

    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.