Make a Working Edison Phonograph From Plastic Cups

By Richard Menta 7/24/05

Ok, there are two reason why this is here. As a collector of vintage radios and phonographs there is a place for the old technology for those of us who write about the new technology and this little educational item I discovered thanks to Engadget caught my interest. Second, I live next to Menlo Park, NJ where Edison invented the phonograph.

But maybe it is also the fact that there is a kid inside of me who simply likes creative toys. The fact that a modern plastic cup has properties unlike that of the hard wax cylinders Edison originally used to first record sound just captures my imagination. The first phonographs had very limited (poor) sound quality so I would not be surprised if this little contraption sounded as good, even with the ingenious use of another paper cup as the horn.

Edison's audio contraptions offered the ability to switch from metal horns, which gave a sharp tinny sound, to wooden horns that offered a softer more mellow tone. Yes folks, this was tone control in the late 1800s. I wonder if switching various types of cups will have the same effect. More junk for the house, I have to stop this.

The cost of the unit is $65.00 and there are already sellers on eBay hawking this thing. AudioCubes, who supplied the above picture also sell it here.


The Sony PSP is available on Amazon

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MGM V. Grokster: Actively Encourage is the Test
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