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Gramophones

In 1887, Emile Berliner, a German immigrant working in Washington D.C., patented a sound-recording system that could be mass produced. Prior to this date, sound had been recorded on cylinders and mass production was virtually impossible. Berliner developed a way to record sound on flat discs, or records, which could be easily mass produced. This device is known as the gramophone.

A gramophone consists of a turntable that holds the record, an arm with a needle that moves through the grooves of the record, and speakers that translate the sound vibrations transmitted from the needle. Berliner founded The Gramophone Company to mass produce his invention and began promoting it by persuading famous musical artists to record their music using his system. Berliner's partner, Elridge Johnson, patented a spring motor for the gramophone that made the turntable revolve at an even speed and eliminated the need for hand cranking.

Berliner eventually sold the licensing rights to his record-making system and the gramophone to the Victor Talking Machine Company, now known as RCA. Victor successfully marketed the gramophone in the United States. Berliner went on to found gramophone companies in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.


Quick Facts

  • Berliner used a 1908 painting by Francis Barraud "His Master's Voice," as the trademark for his company. The painting depicted a small dog named Nipper listening to a gramophone. The trademark rights were sold to Victor when Berliner sold rights to the gramophone. It is now one of the most famous trademarks in the world
  • The first gramophones were horn gramophones, using the horn speaker similar to early phonographs. Around World War I, the portable gramophone was produced and was used widely from 1920 to 1955. Portable gramophones were called picnic gramophones because they could be taken on family outings
  • In 2012, an unusual German triple-horn gramophone sold at auction in Cologne, Germany for $6,150

Recommended Items at Auction

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Victor record gramophone w/ hand painted morning glory horn.
Oct 21, 9:00 AM EDT
Victor record gramophone w/ hand painted morning glory horn.
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$706 Bids
Case gramophone His Master's Voic
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Case gramophone His Master's Voic
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Est: €0- €0
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Gramophone, France, around 1900,
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Gramophone, France, around 1900,
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€2000 Bids
Case gramophone, England, early 2
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Case gramophone, England, early 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Case gramophone, England, early 2
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Case gramophone, England, early 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Case gramophone, Germany, early 2
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Case gramophone, Germany, early 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Gramophone, beginning of the 20th
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Gramophone, beginning of the 20th
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€3300 Bids
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GRAMMOFONO A TROMBA
Oct 22, 9:00 PM CEST
GRAMMOFONO A TROMBA
by Trionfante Antiques s.r.l
Est: €100- €120
€700 Bids
Gramophone with Revolving Christmas Tree Stand, c. 1910.
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Gramophone with Revolving Christmas Tree Stand, c. 1910.
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €3,500- €4,500
€2,2000 Bids
Case gramophone, Germany, early 2
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Case gramophone, Germany, early 2
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Klingsor Gramophone, c. 1914
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Klingsor Gramophone, c. 1914
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €500- €800
€3000 Bids
Carl Lindström Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1914
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Carl Lindström Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1914
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €800- €1,200
€4500 Bids
Maestrophone Hot-Air Engine Horn Gramophone, 1907
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Maestrophone Hot-Air Engine Horn Gramophone, 1907
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €10,000- €12,000
€8,0000 Bids
Melba Cabinet Gramophone, c. 1925
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Melba Cabinet Gramophone, c. 1925
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €400- €600
€2600 Bids
Victrola Style VV-XVI Gramophone, c. 1912
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Victrola Style VV-XVI Gramophone, c. 1912
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €500- €700
€2800 Bids
Traveling-Arm Horn Gramophone, c. 1904
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Traveling-Arm Horn Gramophone, c. 1904
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €1,200- €1,400
€7000 Bids
Four Gramophones
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Four Gramophones
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €500- €700
€2400 Bids
German Horn Gramophone, c. 1910
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
German Horn Gramophone, c. 1910
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €400- €600
€2800 Bids
Farre Horn Gramophone, c. 1914
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Farre Horn Gramophone, c. 1914
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €600- €900
€3500 Bids
Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1914
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1914
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €600- €900
€2800 Bids
Tritona Horn Gramophone, c. 1914
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Tritona Horn Gramophone, c. 1914
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €1,000- €1,200
€6500 Bids
Polyphon Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1925
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Polyphon Coin-Operated Gramophone, c. 1925
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €500- €700
€2400 Bids
Four Portable Gramophones, 1925 onwards
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Four Portable Gramophones, 1925 onwards
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €400- €500
€2400 Bids
His Master's Voice 461 Gramophone, 1926
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
His Master's Voice 461 Gramophone, 1926
by Auction Team Breker
Est: €500- €700
€2800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Gramophones


Auction Team Breker

Auction Team Breker

Historia Auktionshaus

Historia Auktionshaus

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center