A basic glossary of phonograph terms
[Barrel] [Belt] [Carriage] [Carrier Arm] [Crank] [Cylinder] [Cylinder Record] [Diaphragm] [Disc] [Disc Record] [End Gate] [Feed Screw] [Gaskets] [Governer] [Gramophone] [Horn] [Leadscrew] [Mainspring] [Mandrel] [Phonograph] [Pot Metal] [Reproducer] [Shaver] [Soundbox] [Talking Machine] [Tonearm] [Turntable] [Winding Key]


The cylindrical container that contains the mainspring.


A strip of leather used most often in a cylinder phonograph to transfer the drive power of the motor to a pulley connected to the mandrel


The assembly that holds the reproducer in in position.

Carrier Arm

Edison's name for the carriage


A key or rotating handle, which when turned clockwise, applies winding tension to the mainspring.


See: Cylinder Record

Cylinder Record

Refers to a cylindrical-shaped recording, with vertical (hill and dale) recording.


Made out of glass, mica, paper, copper, or aluminum, the thin diaphragm is the part of the reproducer that vibrates to cause the record grooves to be heard as sound.


See: Disc Record

Disc Record

A flat, circular recording with a single spiral groove contaiing either lateral or vertical recording upon it. First pioneered by Emile Berliner, disc records have been available in sizes from 7 to 16 inches in diameter.

End Gate

On early cylinder phonographs, the mandrel was supported by bearings on both sides, and a moveable gate was required to allow changing of the record. In later phonographs, the end gate was removed and a larger central bearing supported the mandrel on one side only

Feed Screw

A long threaded screw which rotates to drive a half nut which is connected to the carriage upon which the reproducer sits.


Thin paper or rubber rings that isolate the diaphragm from the reproducer body, enabling it to vibrate freely.


A weighted assembly that spins rapidly and uses centrifugal force to regulate the speed of the phonograph.


The original name given to the disc record player by Berliner, now used in Europe to refer to any disc record player.


The output device of a phonograph, most often conical in shape, that amplifies the sound from the reproducer


See: Feedscrew


A thin, tightly coiled length of steel that when wound, provides the driving force for the phonograph.


The slightly tapered cylindrical tube on which a cylinder record is placed for playing. Although usually made out of metal, these can also be made out of wood, and gutta purcha.


Although generally used to refer to all record players, the Phonograph really only refers to the cylinder machine produced by Edison. In Europe, phonograph refers to all cylinder machines, and Gramophone refers to all disc machines.

Pot Metal

Composed mostly of zinc, pot, or "white" metal also contained trace amounts of lead and other metals which caused "intergranular corrosion", which causes: 1) the metal to swell, 2) the metal to deteriorate, and 3) curse words to come from the repair-persons mouth.


The part of the phonograph responsible to turning the physical record impressions back into audible sound waves. A needle or stylus is vibrated by the record, which in turn vibrates a diaphragm to produce wound.


A device attached to early cylinder machines which enabled the "erasing" of a recording by removing the top layer of wax.


See: Reproducer

Talking Machine

A generic term used to describe all phonographs and gramophones


The (usually) hollow tube that acts as a conduit for the soundwaves as they are passed from the reproducer to the horn


In a disc phonograph, the turntable is the platter that holds the disc record, and rotates it for play under the reproducer

Winding Key

See: Crank