On this Day

December 6th

The Phonograph's Birthday Anniversary Parties



December 6 is a Friends of the Phonograph Red-Letter Day!


The Phonograph's Birthday Anniversary Parties

A small group of friends and family have celebrated the Phonograph's birthday on December 6th since 1977 (inspired by the phonograph's 100th birthday). For an explanation of this date, see Why December 6th? which includes a summary of some related dates and examples of later first day covers honoring its invention.

In the 1980's an Oakland-Emeryville-Berkeley group of friends(1) took the event to a new level, celebrating its birthday with food and artistry inspired by the phonograph. Creations such as cakes and cookies shaped like phonograph records, phonograph inspired pottery and glass records, a tapestry and needlepoint sampler, and other unique presentations highlighted those birthday parties.

Over the years phonograph birthday venues and menus have varied. But Friends of the Phonograph faithfully remember the day and hopefully they will always include a "Happy Birthday to the Phonograph" on December 6 wherever they are.


Doug and James, circa 1979



Sampler for 1981 Birthday Party

Besides the traditional alphabet, Kathy Aiken's sampler features the first four lines of the nursery rhymn "Mary Had a Little Lamb", said to be the first words spoken by Edison's tin-foil Phonograph on December 6, 1877.



The Sign for 1988 Birthday Party

This wooden sign was created by two charter members of the original Friends of Phonography. Despite a revision to the name this sign continues to be annually hung at Friends of the Phonograph birthday parties. Thanks Debbie and Joellen for your artistic work!



"Edison as a Boy" Artwork by DK for 1989 Birthday Party




Victor record for 1990 Phonograph Birthday

Axel and Betty Boilesen presented a framed Victor record of James Whitcomb Riley reciting his poem "Out to Old Aunt Mary's" for the 1990 Birthday party. You can listen to Harry E. Humphrey performing Riley's poem on an Edison Blue Amberol record 2539 released in March 1915. Humphrey's voice is much clearer than the Victor record made by Riley who was declining and would pass in 1916.



2006 Phonograph Birthday Cake



Every Birthday - A Celebration

With morning-glory horn in hand the message "Remember the Phonograph!" was trumpeted on the Black Rock Desert in 1990.

In the twenty-first century it's a revolution still turning.




The Edison Phonograph Birthday Party Photo Album


Birthday Party 1986


Birthday Party 1987


Birthday Party 1988


Birthday Party 1989


Birthday Party 1990


Birthday Party 1991


Birthday Party 1992


Birthday Party 2004


Birthday Party 2005


Birthday Party 2006


Birthday Party 2007


Birthday Party 2008


Birthday Party 2009


Birthday Party 2010


Birthday Party 2012


Birthday Party 2019


Birthday Party 2021


The original "Friends" sign is still hung outside our house each December 6th. Inside, the Phonograph Holiday Tree is annually displayed.




Phonograph Jingles (1907)

When the day is cold and dreary,

When the day is warm and cheery,

When you want a hearty laugh,

Remember the Edison Phonograph.

The "Wizard" has invented many things;

But my favorite invention is the one that sings.

It can also talk and whistle and laugh --

This wonderful Edison Phonograph.

Washington Evening Star jingle competition entry as reported by the Edison Phonograph Monthly, December 1907










Friends of the Phonograph