Deep Dive: Exploring the Exhibits

Edison Blue Amberol Records

This is an Edison Blue Amberol Record, manufactured by the Thomas A. Edison Inc. holding company between 1912 and 1929.

On one of the sides is a photograph of Thomas Edison with his signature marking the trade mark. The cylinder container is mostly blue with a green border at parts. On the top of the container is a blue sticker that provides the patent information and the title of the record within. This one is slightly damaged but you can still read the artists name: Fred Van Eps. Within the cylinder box is the original record.

Prior to the Blue Amberols, Edison produced four-minute cylinders that were made of a fragile, black wax-like substance. These would become the standard until 1912, while also causing a resurgence in the interest of cylinder records. However their fragile state would become noted very early on, as seen in the cracks that could occur while being played - or in some cases outright shattering.

Edison Blue Amberols were the result of Edison not wanting to pay royalties to Thomas B. Lambert for a celluloid cylinder patent in 1912. Eventually he bought it but changed the production over to a thin blue-tinted reinforced celluloid. These Blue Amberol records were noted for their high quality at the time, both in sound and durability.

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