Disc and Cylinder Reproducers

Information pertaining to disc and cylinder reproducers, including operation, identification, and instructions on rebuilding
[Introduction] [Identifying] [Rebuilding]


The reproducer (or 'speaker') of the phonograph is responsible for converting the sound impressions from the record into sound waves that approximate the original with sufficient accuracy as to allow us to hear the voice or music originally recorded upon it.

Be it a cylinder or disc reproducer, each has 4 basic parts: the body, the diaphragm, the stylus or needle bar, and the stylus or needle itself. The body, with the help of rubber gaskets, holds the diaphragm firmly in place, but freely able to vibrate. With very little exception, the diaphragm of a vertical (hill and dale) recording is suspended horizontally (parrallel to) the record surface. The diaphragm in a lateral reproducer is generally perpendicular to the record surface.

Diaphragms can be made out of most any rigid material that is thin enough to vibrate with a high enough frequency to be able to reproduce a record's sounds. Typically, glass, mica, copper and aluminum were used.

Edison's cylinder and disc records were always meant to be played with a jewel stylus, first sapphire, and then diamond. Victor, Columbia, Brunswick, and most of the other lateral phonographs of the time, used a replaceable metallic needle, usually made of steel, but during and after WWII, tungstun.

Identifying Reproducers

Victor, Edison, Columbia, Etc.

Step-By-Step Rebuilding Instructions

Victor Exhibition