Aaron CramerA Memorial Tribute to Aaron Cramer
By Peter Liebert

On May 16th, 2006, we lost a beloved friend and collector, Aaron Cramer. Aaron passed away, just days after his 80th birthday, from injuries resulting from an automobile accident. He had led a full and wonderful life, with his lovely wife Thea by his side. Aaron, a retired high school teacher, was widely traveled and served his country in WWII. His pride and joy (after the children and grand children that he loved so much) was the phonograph collection he had built in his 35 years of collecting.

Much of the collection filled the various rooms of their Brooklyn home, so when Aaron and Thea moved to New Jersey, Aaron had a special add-on room built. This allowed him to put most of the collection in a single room, and display it in a museum-like manor. He so enjoyed giving tours of his gallery not only fellow collectors, but also to interested novices as well. Although not the largest of collections, Aaron created what was certainly one of the nicest phonograph collections, with many rare and unusual machines.

One of Aaron's passions was the historical study of phonograph pioneer Frank Lambert, whose granddaughter he discovered during his research. The centerpiece of Aaron's collection was Lambert's own phonograph, a simple machine designed to be used in an experimental Ansonia talking clock. Having the distinction of being the oldest surviving playable recording (and certified as such in the 1994 Guinness Book of Records), the durable lead cylinder record (rather than the more common of the time, but ephemeral, tin-foil) has the spoken hours of the day ("One O'Clock... Two O'Clock...", etc.) in what is assumed to be Lambert's own voice.

In addition, several Edison coin-ops, a selection of Hexaphones, North Americans, early Graphophones, Victors, Berliners and some very rare disk and cylinder music boxes filled out this magnificent collection. His love of pink Lambert records (developed by celluloid record pioneer Thomas Lambert, no relation to Frank Lambert) led him to hold one of the largest collections of these rare records, including some super-rare pink and black 5-inch Lambert concert records. Several pieces of interesting paper ephemera, catalogs, photos and posters helped to round out his wonderful collection.

Aaron loved "the chase", as well as the research and discovery. He was the kind of collector who enjoyed helping others, and was demonstratively appreciative when others helped him. I, for one, will never forget his kindness and generosity. He will long be remembered and missed.

All text and photographs Copyright © 2003-2006 Peter Liebert. All Rights Reserved. Use with permission only

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Photographs of Aaron
Photographs of Aaron

The Cramer Collection
The Cramer Collection

Article About Aaron
Article About Aaron

Aaron's Amazing Lambert Discovery
Aaron's Amazing Lambert Discovery
(with video)

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