A look back at needles

gramophone reproducer

Scientific American dips into it’s archives looking at an article originally published in 1919 discussing needles on the “new” phonograph:

At the time of this article’s publication, July 5, 1919, the phonograph had only been a household item for 10 to 15 years. While it was still considered a novel invention, persons such as F.D. Hall of Chicago began looking for ways to improve upon it—specifically its sound quality. The phonograph made “tinny” and “harsh sounds,” and was also described as being “unduly loud.” Further, the metal needle often wore down the records after a short while.

The article goes on to share the story and pictures of using and manufacturing bamboo as a record needle. As the article points out at the end, we now use mostly diamonds in our needles. To think how far we’ve come…

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