This is the first of a series of early playback devices that are owned by the EMI Archive Trust. Its actually not a gramophone; its a phonograph. An Excelsior Pearl phonograph which was made in Cologne, Germany, in 1904
This is how the Trust describes the piece “Excelsior phonographs were produced by the Excelsiorwerk of Cologne at the begining of the 20th Century.They were mainly of the Type Q Graphophone family with a cover-plate round the motor. Some however, like the Pearl, were made with a cast-iron bedplate and a motor concealed in a case below. Decoratively, the Pearl shares the common Excelsior finish of black with a red lining. This Pearl also carries its name and a landscape / floral motif on the oak case. Originally cost 32/6.”
You can see how it would have played back sound in this video of a reproduced phonograph:
Thank you to the EMI Archive Trust for allowing us to show these pictures. You can find out more about the EMI Archive Trust (and even arrange a time to go and visit their gramophone collection) here.
I’d love to make contact with people who have an interest in these kind of devices. Please get in touch via the comments section below.
2 thoughts on “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #1”
The Excelsior Pearl was first advertised for sale in Britain during 1906 — not 1904 . Sole importers and wholesalers were John G Murdoch & Co ltd of London , who advertised these extensively in the trade press during 1906 and 1907 but sales could not have been as high as expected as they were still being offered as late as 1916 but now as part of Murdoch’s “Beltona” range with no mention of the German origins , no doubt from unsold warehouse stocks.