Thursday, 9 February 2012

Naming the Phonograph

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In November of 1877, Thomas Edison debuted his "phonograph," a groundbreaking device that was capable of not just recording sound, but also replaying it. 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, I imagine, be errors.

(Source: Thomas Edison Papers; Image above: Edison with the phonograph in 1878, via Library of Congress.)



Transcript
T. A. Edison

Auto-Electrograph = Electric Pen
Tel-autograph
Tel-autophone
Polyphone = Manifold Sounder
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