The Edison Pages

Edison Disc Record Oddities

Prototypes and special-use discs at the Edison National Historic Site, West Orange, New Jersey

The specimens shown here are among the many unusual discs held by the Edison National Historic Site. Full discographic details of the Slogan Machine and Selectatune recordings will be found in Ray Wile's Edison Discography (1926–29).
1910 Edison Diamond Disc test pressing

1910 Experimental Diamond Disc

During 1910–11, Edison engineers recorded numerous 10- and 12-inch masters in preparation for the 1912 launch of the Diamond Disc. Some top operatic talent was employed in New York, London, and other locations.

Unfortunately, virtually none of the 1910-11 masters were ever released; however, test pressings of many survive, some of which are now available on CDs. This example, by Marie Delna, was recorded on March 15, 1910.

Edison Slogan Reproducing Machine record

Slogan Machine Reproducing Record

The Slogan Reproducing Machine was intended to play a short message when a customer made a vending-machine purchase. The 24-rpm discs had very widely spaced grooves, at only 17 turns per inch (the Diamond Disc groove was 150 turns per inch).

Numerous slogan recordings were made during 1928–29, many of them by Edward Meeker, who repeatedly spoke such lines as "You will enjoy Tom's Toasted Peanuts" and "The little piggy thanks you."

Edison Selectatune record, 1929

Selectatune Disc

The 1929 Selectatune masters, numbered in the Experimental series, were 12" vertically cut discs recorded at 30 rpm, with groove spacing of 300 turns per inch. A single side could contain up to ten individual selections. The masters were electrically recorded and contained dance selections by bands unnamed in the files.

The discs apparently were intended for use in a jukebox-type machine. The prototype shown here survives at ENHS, but the records were never put into commercial production.

Edison Needle-Type with Brunswick record label

Needle Type Record with Brunswick Label

No explanation is known for this 1929 Edison Needle Type (lateral-cut) disc bearing a blank Brunswick label.

In October 1929, Walter Miller attempted to sell off Edison Needle Type masters to other companies (for details, see Discontinuing the Record Business). Perhaps this was a sample made by or for Brunswick in anticipation of their purchasing some Edison masters — which, however, did not occur.

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