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  • Hand Crank

    The hand crank record player long pre-dates the rise of motor driven record players. In fact its origin begins in the 19th century with Thomas Edison, the inventor of the phonograph (the original name for a record player) itself. Edison’s invention proved too difficult for most people to operate, so in 1887 a German inventor in the U.S. named Emile Berliner built on the ideas of Edison’s design. Instead of a cylinder with the sound etched in tinfoil or wax, he developed a device that rotated a hard rubber (and later, shellac) disc on a flat plate by the turn of a crank.

    The hand crank record player persisted well into the 1920s, when record players were marketed that no longer relied on manual labor to keep them in operation. Turntable innovation continued throughout the 20th century, and soon made hand crank record players obsolete. Though they are a highly collectible object for devoted fans of the vintage devices, they are a mere curiosity for the general turntable consumer.
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