How the Record Player Was Invented

Do you enjoy listening to old records on your record player? Do you know how it was made and who was the person to invent it? If the answer is no, you should keep on reading.

best record playerThe best record player of the modern day has evolved considerably and made it possible for us to enjoy the unique sound of our vintage records. When it was first invented, though, it was called the phonograph. Thomas Edison was the inventor of the first ever record player, as we know it today, in 1877. He based his invention on Edouard Leon Scott de Martinville’s research, who had previously created a device called phonautograph in 1857.

Thomas Edison’s phonograph was later on improved by Alexander Graham Bell, who also invented the telephone, and finally perfected by Emile Berliner, who created the first fully functional phonograph.

A Century of Improvements

Naturally, the phonograph underwent hundreds and hundreds of improvements in the century upon its invention. During the late 19th century it was very popular and present in almost every home. The phonograph, also known as the gramophone, and now the modern record player, changed the way people perceived music. Before this device, the only way people could listen to music was at a live concert, which was not really possible for everyone. The record players enabled people to listen to music whenever they wanted, wherever they wanted. Due to their wide commercial reach, music also become more popular and appreciated.


You can hear people refer to record players in different names. Decks, turntables, record players and record changers are all the same thing. Following this trend, during the early 20th century, manufacturers also added to this list of names by giving their record players unique, trademarked names. Some of these names include the Granophone, Gramophone and the Zonophone. The original name, the Phonograph, was coined by F.B. Fenby in 1863.


They Were Used To Record Sound

Obviously, record players are also able to record music. The recording process has also gone through many changes and methods over the years. For example, Thomas Edison’s phonograph recorded onto a tinfoil. It was wrapped over a cylinder and the stylus moved up and down quickly to record sound onto the tinfoil. This method did not last for long, however.

In 1889, Emile Berliner invented his Gramophone which set the frames of recording on record players as we know it to this day. A zinc disc was required, which was then further coated with a mixture of benzene and beeswax to record sound. The stylus move in a spiral motion, as opposed to Edison’s up and down motion. Naturally, this design eventually become the predominant since it was more efficient and provided better quality recordings.

Record players become amazingly popular by the end of the 19th century. That may be owed mostly to the fact that there was a so-called phonograph parlor in most American cities. A phonograph parlor was the first version of modern day music shops. People could go there and listen to some records of their choosing. In other words, the phonograph was used as a modern day jukebox. Soon, mass production of the records was made possible which made phonographs even more popular because people could now purchase their own records and listen to them in the comfort of their own homes.

Popularity and New Technology Inventions

record players

It didn’t take long for the record player to become one of the most popular sources of entertainment after its invention. The first ones didn’t even need electricity – they had hand-crank mechanisms installed for power supply.

By the 1940, people started recording on vinyl. This proved to be very convenient since vinyl records allowed for a lot more recording space. It could record a whole symphony. Not long after that, record players were present in virtually every home in America.

However, as time goes by and technology advances the record player has lost its status. The first invention to rupture the popularity of the record player were the cassettes. Nowadays people can enjoy their favorite music on a CD or on their mp3 players in the best quality possible.

Nevertheless, real music connoisseurs still rely on their record players to provide the ultimate enjoyment when listening to vintage tracks.