Old, Weird Tech: Mikiphone, a Pocket-Sized Phonograph

More

While the Mikiphone's metal case looks small enough to travel with, it takes quite a bit of assembly to get into working order

Mikiphoneclosed_450x345.jpg

Portable music may seem like a luxury ushered in by the Sony Walkman and popularized by iPods, but hipsters of the 1920s were able to jam to their favorite tunes on-the-go, too, thanks to the Mikiphone, a pocket-sized phonograph.

An estimated 100,000 to 180,000 of these mini-music players were manufactured between 1924 and 1927 in Switzerland. Unlike our modern music devices, the Mikiphone had no batteries, relying instead on a hand-crank for power. A resonator was used to broadcast the sound.   

When closed, the Mikiphone looks quite compact -- you could definitely cart it around in your purse. But, as you can see from this video, the apparatus takes quite a bit of assembly. The parts are stored in the case, which, when closed, has a diameter of just 11.5 cm and a thickness of 4.7 cm. Put together, the Mikiphone takes up a considerable amount of room -- it plays 10-inch records -- making it more of a gadget you might whip out at a party than one you listen to while trotting to the general store.

Explore the entire Old, Weird Tech archive.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca Greenfield is a writer based in Brooklyn. She was formerly on staff at The Atlantic Wire.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Fascinating Short Film About the Multiverse

If life is a series of infinite possibilities, what does it mean to be alive?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In