Posts Tagged ‘phonograph’

Doan’s Dictionary and Almanack – 1903

September 13, 2012

Doan’s backache and kidney pills were all the rage 100 years ago. Apparently, they still exist although without any reference to kidneys. For the medically minded the active ingredient is magnesium salicylate which makes these pills non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs.

We have no such medicaments at Market Lavington Museum. What we do have is a marketing item which found its way to the Gye household back in 1903. It is a small paperback book containing a calendar, a dictionary and much propaganda about the benefits of Doan’s pills.

Here’s the front cover of what was an annual publication.

Doan’s Dictionary and Almanack for 1903 can be found at Market Lavington Museum

Inside we can discover that Doan’s pills were made in a modern, hygienic  factory.

Drawing showing the up to date factory where Doan’s pills were made.

And then there is the dictionary from which we pick one entry – the gramaphone.

It’s not how we spell gramophone – but do come and hear a similar aged phonograph at the Market Lavington Museum Miscellany on September 15th

Well maybe the gramophone was spelt that way back in 1903 and maybe across the pond in the USA. But this gramophone is our sneaky advert for the Museum Miscellany, in a few days time on 15th September.

We will be listening to music played on a device of a similar age, but actually a phonograph which plays cylinders rather than discs. Be at Market Lavington Community Hall at 7.30pm on Saturday 15th September to see and hear more of the history of your parish of Market Lavington and Easterton.

Another new display at Market Lavington Museum

May 1, 2012

Here we see another item we have already met on these pages. This is the wonderful phonograph, so recently arrived at our museum. The museum and associated items have now been displayed, and very fine it all looks too.

Phonograph display at Market Lavington Museum

Here we see the little Edison Bell gem phonograph which dates from 1905 with its sewing machine like wooden cover. Also on display are a range of cylinder boxes by Edison Bell, Clarion, Columbia, Sterling and Electric.

The photo on the left shows James and Lizzie Merritt of Vicarage Farm, Easterton who owned and used the phonograph back in its heyday.

The photo on the right is a much enlarged copy of a small label which was inside one of the cylinder boxes. It tells you that the record was of Miss Florrie Forde singing ‘That’s what the girl told the soldier’. This is a slightly risqué song. At one point a girl explains how one of the twins is black whilst the other is white – one was born in the day and the other at night.

The chorus goes:

You know what the girl told the soldier,
The girl with the dimple and the curl.
But it wouldn’t be polite,
And not quite right,
If I told you what the soldier told the girl.

This may be a chosen song for our Museum Miscellany which will be on September 15th this year.

An Edison Bell Phonograph

April 16, 2012

One of the new items on display at the start of the 2012 season will be a phonograph. Phonographs were an early type of gramophone which played music recorded on wax cylinders, rather than on flat discs. Their heyday was probably in the 1890s and by the time the one we have was made – a 1905 design – they were probably already in decline. Discs had some disadvantages, but ease of manufacture and of storage made the flat 78rpm record the way forward in the 20th century.

Here’s a look at what our phonograph is like.

Edison Bell Gem, model B Phonograph which is now at Market Lavington Museum

It is an Edison Bell Gem – model B. As said, these were introduced in 1905 and cost, in the USA, $7.50. For an extra $2.50 you could buy a ‘crane’ to support a heavier and more elegant horn. This horn is lightweight aluminium. A box for a cylinder is seen on the right.

This phonograph belonged to the Merritt family who lived at Vicarage Farm in Easterton. It has been loaned to the museum by a current member of the family who lives in Market Lavington.

Along with the machine there are some 65 cylindrical records – each lasting about 2 minutes. Some are in excellent condition, some sound very worn, a few are badly cracked whilst about 3 are in pieces. The phonograph is in working order so it is possible to play the records and enjoy all the risqué fun of the Edwardian Music Hall, listening to stars like Florrie Forde or Harry Lauder.

Plans are in hand to have this item perform at this year’s Museum Miscellany, which will be on Saturday 15th September at 7.30pm. But until then, you can click here and watch the machine at work playing ‘Bonnie Dundee’.