Edison's Other Names for the Phonograph: Klangophone, Kosmophone, Didaskophone

More

Edison wasn't satisfied with his initial branding -- and came up with 50 alternatives -- but the name ended up sticking. 

edisontop_615.jpg

When Thomas Edison sketched out a machine that could record sound onto paper tape in August of 1877, he labeled it a "phonograph." But Edison was apparently dissatisfied by that name, because a note of his from November of that year lists about 50 alternatives, mostly derived from combinations of English, Greek, and Latin, perhaps believing that the older languages would confer a sort of scientific dignity to his very modern machine. On the list: hemerologophone ("speaking almanac"), bittakophone ("parrot speaker"), and kosmophone ("universal sounder"). But, in the end, phonograph stuck. Below, a copy of the list, preceded by a helpful transcription put together by Lists of Note.

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

6845953825_e65e822795_o.jpg


Via Letters of Note.

Images: The Thomas Edison Papers at Rutgers University.


Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


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

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In