What’s in a name? Edison’s Phonograph and the origins of dictation

09/02/2012 | Hayley

Transcription Global wouldn’t exist without the phonograph, but what other names did Edison consider for his groundbreaking invention?

The popular Lists of Note blog posted a fascinating entry this morning. In November 1877, the famous inventor Thomas Edison debuted his “phonograph,” a groundbreaking device that was capable of not just recording sound, but also replaying it. This machine introduced the fundamental principles of dictation to the general public, and it would also lay the foundations for the tape recorder, the Walkman and the iPod. However, prior to choosing “phonograph,” Edison and his colleagues came up with dozens of potential names for the invention — most using prefixes of Greek or Latin origin — and collated them in the following list.

Transcript follows. There will, of course, be errors.

(Source: Thomas Edison Papers)

Transcript
T. A. Edison

Auto-Electrograph = Electric Pen
Tel-autograph
Tel-autophone
Polyphone = Manifold Sounde
Autophone = Self sounder
Kosmophone = Universal Sounder
Acoustophone = Sound hearer = Audible speaker
Octophone = Ear-sounder = speaker
Anitphone = Back-talker
Liguphone = Clear speaker
Minuttophone = Minute-sounder
Meistophone = Smallest sounder
Anchiphone = Near sounder or speaker
Palmatophone = Vibration sounder
Chronophone = Time-announcer = Speaking clock
Didaskophone = Teaching speaker, Portable teacher
Glottophone = Language sounder or speaker
Climatophone = Weather announcer
Atmophone = Fog sounder or Vapor-speaker
Palmophone = Pendulum sounder or Sounding pendulum
Pinakophone = Sound Register
Hemerologophone = Speaking almanac
Kalendophone = Speaking Calendar
Sphygmophone = Pulse speaker
Halmophone = Heart-beat sounder
Seismophone = Earthquake sounder
Electrophone = Electric speaker
Brontophone = Thunder speaker
Klangophone = Bird-cry sounder
Surigmophone = Whistling sounder
Bremophone = Wind sounder
Bittakophone = Parrot speaker
Krogmophone = Croaking or Cawing sounder
Hulagmophone = Barking sounder
Trematophone = Sound borer
Telephemist telephemy telepheme
Electrophemist electrophemy electropheme
Phemegraph = speech writer
Omphegraph -gram = voice writer or researcher
Melodograph Melograph Melpograph -gram = song writer
Epograph = speech writer, lecture or sermon
Rhetograph = speech writer
Kinemograph = motion writer
Atmophone = vapor or steam sound
Aerophone = air sound
Symphraxometer = pressure measurer
Synothemeter = pressure measurer
Orcheograph = vibration record
Orcheometer

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