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Linguaphone Phonograph

view Linguaphone Phonograph digital asset number 1
leather metal cloth velvet
early 20th-mid 20th Century
The Linguaphone company was founded in 1901 in Great Britain, establishing a system of self-study language lessons using phonograph records, and continues in that capacity to this day with current technological tools.
Portable record players first became available and popular during the years of the First World War. The suitcase-style model of which this machine is an example became increasingly popular after 1921, when an increasingly-mobile population (due to increased automobile ownership) found it easy and desirous to take the comforts of home with them on their travels. The fact that these devices were acoustic, or mechanical, as opposed to electrical-control is derived through use of a hand-operated crank-allowed for their very portability. It must be noted that although Linguaphone is the manufacturer of this particular machine it should not be implied or assumed that only Linguaphone records could or would be played upon it. No serial number is evident, so a precise date of its manufacture is impossible, but there are some indicators that point to its approximate vintage:
The cartridge-also known as the "reproducer" or "sound box"-at the end of this player's tone arm (the "sound box support") holds a steel phonograph needle that ideally would need to be replaced after each, or every second, playing. The sound box serves as an amplifier. The hand-operated crank, known as the "winding key," controls the belt that drives the spinning of the turntable; as such the speed of the turntable is variable, as is also the length of time that it turns. Additional control is allowed through use of a speed-regulating lever, or "governor" at the side of the turntable. 78 rpm records, especially those of the 1920s and earlier, were notoriously variable in the speed of their recording-a 78 rpm disk might actually represent anything between 60 to 130 rpm-so control on the part of the individual user was desirable to achieve the correct sound when each record was played.
There is an interesting side note to this object: there is a broken 1956-vintage 78 rpm EP record in the record holder pocket located in the phonograph's lid, containing four cover versions of popular songs: Long Tall Sally (written 1956), Magic Touch (1956), Ivory Tower (1956), & Moonglow (originally written in 1933, and later adapted and used as the theme of the 1955 motion picture Picnic.)
Dr. Turner obviously used this machine for both business and pleasure; he would have been able to play records made from his field recordings, and also obviously used it to play 78rpm musical records.
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Lorenzo Dow Turner Collection
Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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