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1896 __ Amet Echophone Phonograph
Edward Hill Amet (1860-1948)
Comment : This odd phonograph, manufactured by Illinois inventor Amet, employed a hollow glass tube with stylus formed into the glass. Bellows were used to amplify the subtle movements within the glass tube. Either a small horn or eartubes could be used.A cylinder phonograph invented in 1896 by Edward H. Amet, marketed around 1897; it appeared first under the name “Metaphone.” Apparently it was the earliest phonograph with a distinct tone arm.which was a thin shaft of glass with a rounded and tipped end that served as a stylus, with a bellows at the other end. Air vibration in this bellows reproduced the sound; operation was by spring motor.The Echophone, invented by Edward Hill Amet and patented by him on November 20th 1895 (U.S. patent 562,694), is a very rare and desirable machine. I would love to hear it in person. I cite from the patent: « I have discovered by my experiments that sounds may be perfectly from phonograms […] by simply tying or clamping a piece of rubber tubing between two rigid pieces or sticks, preferably of wood, the pieces being preferably tied or pressed closer at one end than at the other, so as to give the flattened rubber tube a somewhat wedging or tapering form. The arm or bar carrying the reproducing-point rests loosely upon one of the rigid pieces between which the rubber tube is clamped, its other or point end resting upon the phonogram-cylinder or sound-record. The free end of the rubber tube which is tied or clamped between the two pieces of wood may be connected to the ordinary ear-tube or to a horn. […] [The] point end of the [glass] arm may be caused to feed or swing by the spiral thread of the sound-writing itself […], so that no feed-screw […] will be necessary […]. » Initially called the Metaphone (an anagram of Amet’s name) with a celluloid tag, it was introduced in late-1895 mounted in a light wooden carry-case; it soon sold as the “Echophone” stamped directly in the wood - for $5/ $10, the lowest price yet for a phonograph. [...] [T]he string-drive, clock-style motor was placed on top, with a knurled speed-adjustment, but no break, turning the cylinder toward the stylus and listener [...]. Amet was vigorously sued by American Graphophone [...] and the last 2000 models were used as subscription premiums by Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly. (Allen Koenigsberg, in: Patent History of the Phonograph, p. xxxviii). Here is an interesting letter sent out by Leslie's Weekly Illustrated on December 24th 1896. The accompanying letter reads: « We herewith enclose you an advertisement that we would like to have appear in your weekly. Will you be kind enough to tell us how many times you will run it in exchange for one of our Echo-phones and one record? We will furnish the cut of the young lady listening to the “Echophone” and you to set the balance of the ad. If you will take a copy of this “ad” to your home and have the ladies read it, we doubt not that you will give us twenty(?) insertions, The “Echo-phone” gives the same reproductions as the “Phonograph” but only costs $3 a piece in lots of 1,000. You can see therefore, that it is no mere toy. We expect to sell with our Weekly at least 150,000 of these machines this coming year, and we want you to help us in accomplishing the result. We think that one of these machines will repay you, so far as pleasure is concerned, much more than the money you would receive for the advertisements. Take the advise of the writer: - Get all the amusement out of this life that you can. Awaiting your favourable reply […]. ». (Forum talkingmachine.info)
Urls : http://www.montanaphonograph.com/gallery/amet_lioret.html (last visited ) http://www.intertique.com/AmetEchophoneID.html (last visited ) http://www3.sympatico.ca/jean-paul.agnard/collection3/echophone.htm (last visited ) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZARaIwtnvsA (last visited ) http://www.phonophan.com/page2.html (last visited ) http://forum.talkingmachine.info/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5457 (last visited ) http://www.victorian-cinema.net/amet.htm (last visited )

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