Historical information

Gramophone cylinders (phonograph cylinders) are the earliest method used to record and reproduce sound for the commercial market. Thomas Edison made his first successful recording at the end of 1878, recording sound on a tin foil sheet wrapped around a metal cylinder. The cylinder boxes contained the gramophone record, either on soft or had wax, to be played on a mechanical gramophone machine. These records were popular until the early 1920’s when they were slowly superseded by the flat disc records.


These phonograph cylinders are an example of colonial recorded music and entertainment.

Physical description

Cardboard tube-shaped gramophone cylinder box with lid. The printed label on the outside of the box advertises the maker and patent details. The Catalogue Number and Title are either printed or hand written on the cylinder’s lid. This cylinder contained Record no. 49, “B & H Jack” and was made at the Edison Laboratory USA. C. 1905

Inscriptions & markings

On lid “Edison Record No. 49”, written in pencil “B & H Jack” (it looks like this) On cylinder “EDISON GOLD MOULDED RECORDS ECHO ALL OVER THE WORLD” Patents listed for 1904 & 1905