NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1893 __ Le kiosque musical Menier — Le Merveilleux
Henri Lioret (1848-1938)
Comment : Excited by Edison’s phonograph but also disappointed by its limits in applying it to automated dolls and gambling machines, he reinvented the whole set-up. He came up with a number of significant ideas including the first really useful sound recording medium, the Lioret-Roll; they are gold-plated brass plates with celluloid covers that carry the grooves. He also invented the first resonator system. His Phono-Cinéma-Theatre in Paris was the first cinema worldwide to show silent pictures with synchronized sound. Alas, it existed only for three years. Henri Lioret was a pioneer in the manufacture of talking machines, and the recording of sound beginning in the 1890s. He was responsible for some of the most sophisticated technology available at the turn of the 20th century. (Compiled from various sources)LIORET "LE MERVEILLEUX" ca. 1895.Henri Lioret was a pioneer in the manufacture of talking machines, and the recording of sound beginning in the 1890s. He was responsible for some of the most sophisticated technology available at the turn of the 20th century. (Compiled from various sources)A Phonograph called ” Le Merveilleux” (Meaning = ”Wonderful”) was made by Henri Lioret around 1894. Henri Lioret was a highly respected clockmaker in France when he first became interested in 'talking machines' in 1893. Working with dollmaker Emile Jumeau, he created a phonograph for a talking doll which would ultimately prove far more successful than the failed Edison doll. In addition to a clockwork motor (rather than Edison's hand-cranked doll) he used removable cylinders made of molded celluloid. The success of the Bébé Jumeau talking doll led Lioret to make this very unusual phonograph starting in 1895. The basic mechanism is the same as was used in the doll, however it was mounted into a tiny pasteboard box with simulated leather covering measuring only 7-1/2" tall. The side door opens to allow access to the removable cylinders, and the top lid reveals the simple celluloid horn. The Merveilleux played only the smallest of Lioret cylinders, of only 30 seconds duration. Despite its very simple construction, it is ingeniously designed and plays remarkably well for such an early phonograph. It is amazing to realize how advanced this simple machine was when compared to phonographs being made in the United States at the same time. Columbia was still developing heavy spring motors to replace the cumbersome battery-powered electric phonograph motors of the early 1890s, offering machines like the Type G at $75 and Type K at $150. Edison was also struggling to make the phonograph more user friendly, acquiring the rights to the Capps spring motor and offering the Edison Spring Motor Phonograph at a hefty $100. The fragile brown wax records offered by both companies required stethoscopic eartubes to hear them clearly. Yet Lioret's little "Merveilleux" sold for a mere 20 Francs (equivalent to only $4!) and played cylinder records molded out of nearly indestructible celluloid which offered surprisingly clear and loud reproduction. (Lioret's larger machines, such as the Lioretgraph Modèle A, were obviously superior in construction and sound quality.) Lioret was unquestionably far ahead of his time. (He went on to make 4-minute celluloid cylinders as early as 1898, fully 14 years before Edison's famous Blue Amberol records.) The Merveilleux also featured an automatic shutoff, and a simple push button would instantly reset the stylus to the beginning of the record -- quite sophisticated for such a simple mechanism. The Merveilleux was sold primarily in France but was also marketed in England, with English-language records. In the photograph at the top of the page the machine on the left features English instruction labels and a London dealer's address. Curiously, the phonograph on the right, marketed in France, has French labels pasted on top of English ones! It was apparently destined for sale in England then reconverted for the French market. Because of the extremely fragile cardboard construction of the case and the simple wire-framed motor, very few of these diminutive machines have survived the past century. They are fascinating examples of surprisingly advanced technology for the times. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : En 1893, Gaston Menier soigne son image de "Marque". Il fait appel à Revon et Paul Kahn pour fabriquer, 93 rue d'Oberkamps à Paris, un kiosque en tôle lithographiée. Le toit est recouvert d"écailles et entouré d'une frise. Au sommet pointe une flêche. C'est la réplique du Kiosque à journaux de la société Grant et Cie et non celle de la colonne Morris. Un premier kiosque voit le jour en 1893. Il sera suivi en 1900 d'un second modèle. Ces deux productions seront destinées à un très large public contrairement au kiosque musical équipé d'un Lioretgraph qui sera réservé aux grossites revendeurs des produits Menier. Probablement fabriqué en 1898, sa production ne dépassera pas la centaine. D'une hauteur de 48 centimètres, son centre abrite un mécanisme déjà utilisé pour la réalisation d'un autre jouet musical. Doté d'un cylindre d'une durée de 30 secondes, Henri Lioret propose à la maison Menier un support publicitaire nouveau : la réclame parlée. Une voie masculine vante le fameux chocolat Menier [Trompette...] "Demandez le chocolat Menier, le meilleur de tous les chocolats ! Il n'y a certainement rien de meilleur que le chocolat Ménier ! [Trompette...] Surtout évitez les nombreuses contrefaçons !" Point d'orgue de ses réalisations, en 1881, une montre appelée "Cigale". Cette dernière possède un dispositif de réveil constitué d'une plaque vibrante restituant un son rappelant le chant d'une cigale. Une étape vient d'être franchie avant une plus large diffusion du son par l'intermédiaire des phonographes. En 1890 Henri Lioret est contacté par Émile Jumeau fabricant de poupée portant son nom. Cette future collaboration portera sur la sonorisation du "bébé Jumeau" par l'intermédiaire d'un phonographe miniature installé dans le corps du jouet. Ce nouveau challenge lui fera développer les premiers fondements d'un phonographe à son nom mais également déposer un brevet sur un nouveau cylindre inusable, (l'ancêtre du disque vinyl) résistant aux chocs affligés le cas présent par les petits propriétaires de poupées Jumeau. Ses qualités d'horloger associés à un perpétuel besoin d'innover lui font entrevoir la mutation de son activité. Celle-ci se tournera définitivement ver la restitution du son par l'intermédiaire d'une création continue et soutenue de Lioretgraphs. (Alain Lateb)
Source : Julien Anton (2006), "Henri Lioret, un horloger pionnier du phonographe", Paris, CIRES.
Urls : http://pone.lateb.pagesperso-orange.fr/Henri%20Lioret.htm (last visited ) http://www.edisontinfoil.com/merveilleux.htm (last visited ) http://soundofthehound.com/2011/04/08/271/ (last visited ) http://www.montanaphonograph.com/gallery/amet_lioret.html (last visited )

No comment for this page

Leave a comment

:
: