Sounds as useful as a chocolate teapot? The long tradition of chocolate records.

We were sent a link to a contemporary Scottish group called Found who worked with a local baker to create a record made of chocolate. It was for their single Anti-climb Paint and you can watch a video of their experiment here. It seemed like a novel idea.

But they were not the first…..this guy in the Germany did it back in the 1980’s and apparently applied for a patent to own the chocolate disc.

I think his disc sound better and looks even better to eat than the more recent Scottish effort but I suspect his patent was unsuccessful because even he was nowhere near the first to have this idea.

Our friends at the EMI Archive Trust have come up with an even earlier example dating back to the very beginning of the twentieth century.

The EMI Archive Trust has examples of the packaging and gramophones made to play chocolate records. These were manufactured by Stollwerck, a German confectionary firm, which produced small disc machines from 1902. These were simple machines, derived from the American toy Graphophone. The records themselves were vertically cut, and some were made of chocolate with a tin-foil covering. Two models of machines were made; one tin-plate circular affair finished in green and gold, and one rectangular wooden one.

As ever, please contact the EMI Archive Trust if you would like learn more about their collection.

Stollwerck has a chocolate museum on Cologne, Germany, where you can find out more about their history…

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Apple sues Amazon over App stores. History goes round and round..like a record.

Apple, who for years was in dispute with The Beatles’ Apple Corps over name and logo usage, is now taking the lead and suing Amazon for use of the term ‘App Store’ according to the Daily Telegraph.  It’s a problem that over the years has upset the likes of Hoover, Biro and………….The Gramophone Company.

Thomas Edison’s original phonograph was a 3″ diameter cylinder designed to enable businessmen to dictate letters which their secretaries would then transfer to paper using the also newly invented typewriter. Emile Berliner, a German who emigrated to America in 1870 and whose technological genius turned Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone from a concept into commercial reality, saw the potential in Edison’s machine, but realised that a cylinder was useless for duplication and sound quality. So he took the idea, replaced the cylinder with a flat disc and called it the Gramophone.

Berliner, in inventing the word ‘gramophone’ to describe his new machine, provided his company with a unique trademark and company name. “The Gramophone Company” was until 1910, exclusive user of the word ‘gramophone’ to describe its machine and records. It vigorously protected its patent of the word in the British courts, as the wonderfully titled ‘Talking Machine News’ noted

“Gramophone is not a generic term. Gramophone & Typewriter Ltd intend for the protection of the public to institute proceedings against any person applying the word ‘gramophone’ to any Talking Machine, Talking Machine Record or Talking Machine needle sold or offered for sale, not the manufacture of the Company.”

And so they did, until in July 1910, the Company’s latest attempt to continue registration of the word failed. In a long statement Justice Parker ends:

”Popularly, gramophone was coming to denote a disc machine, and phonograph a cylinder machine. The word ‘graphophone’ was never widely used….(There is) no reason for allowing one trader to register and secure a monopoly in what already is the name of the article…..I have come to the conclusion therefore that the application to register the word ‘gramophone’ ought not to be allowed to proceed.”

The same issue of ‘Talking Machine News’ immediately featured advertisements from rival companies and retailers using the word “gramophone” to describe any flat disc or flat disc machine.

However, chance was to play its hand once again. The Gramophone Company regsitered the His Masters Voice name and logo in response to losing control of “gramaphone” and so by losing rights to one word, they gained rights to a dog!