The Development Of Cylinder Records - Part 2
As with Edison, Charles Sumner Tainter also
and in the July
1888 wrote the following
about the advantages to the business
and the Graphophone
"In its (the
construction, efficiency has,
been the first consideration, after which the matters
of simplicity, facility of management, and the practical
ling of the records or messages have been disposed of....
paper cylinders are very light, perfectly portable, and may be
transmitted by mail with the same facility as an ordinary
The cylinder will fit
any Graphophone without
adjustment of the instrument...
The Graphophone has been in
use for some time past, carrying
Included were various testimonials of the day which also
sang the praises of Tainter's
"Previously all my dictation had
been done directly to typewriter operators.
now use the
Phonograph-Graphophone for all my work and it is as
superior to the old method as is the
locomotive to the stage coach.
speed of the dictation is only limited
by ability to articulate distinctly,
and often runs over 200 words per
I can turn out at least
twice as much copy per day with the
Phonograph-Graphophone as I ever could before....
one uses it the more numerous are its convenient
services, and the more necessary it seems to a busy man."
Phonograph and Bell and Tainter's Graphophone were therefore poised, in the hands of the North American Phonograph Company, to revolutionize the way correspondence was generated in the business office.
a rosy future for the cylinder machine as a business aid was
not as assured as the many testimonials implied.
numerous mechanical problems
and inconveniences with the early machines.
As well, there
was immediate opposition
a number of stenographers
away of their jobs by .the
One can imagine the
occasional sabotage which took place to the, at best, marginally reliable
Phonograph, with its reusable cylinders,
proved more practical
and reliable than Tainter's
and the North American Phonograph
Company very quickly fell behind its contractual
agreement to purchase,
lease to businesses,
5000 machines a year
from the American Graphophone
As a way of trying to attract more public favour, the Graphophone
was redesigned in 1890 to accept the all-wax,
two-inch diameter cylinder
from this point on cylinders were
on both the Phonograph
and the Graphophone.
Nevertheless, by 1890-91,
North American, still in its infancy,
itself on the brink of financial disaster and, without the timely intervention of a new
and more profitable direction for the recording
cylinder record could well have disappeared before it had had a chance to