Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)

Phonographs in the Mechanical Music Gallery, Phoenix, AZ.


The Musical Instrument Museum has one of its galleries devoted to "the world's music through mechanical instruments." The following text is from their introductory panel to that gallery which provides a brief history and context for the entry of phonographs into popular culture:

Other musical instruments need someone to play them, but mechanical instruments play themselves. They may be powered by hand cranks, foot pumps, spring motors or electricity...

The dream of machines that could store and play music did not come true all at once. The first documented examples of automated bells and singing birds date from the 1st century. During the Middle Ages, bells in clock towers were automated by giant pinned cylinders. By about 1800, this idea had been scaled down to provide music boxes for home use. Refinements and innovations multiplied over the next 130 years in what has been called the Golden Age of Mechanical Music...

This period includes the invention of the phonograph--an analog rather than a digital device. For the first time in history, live music could be preserved, packaged and purchased. This would eventually bring the Golden Age of Mechanical Music to a close."

The following are some of the phonographs on display at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.


Phonographs - Hexaphone, Zon-o-phone, Edison Phonograph, Victor Talking Machine.


Regina Hexaphone, The Regina Music Box Co., USA 1908


Zon-o-phone Model A, Universal Talking Machine Co., USA 1899


Home Model E Phonograph, National Phonograph Company, USA c. 1912


Monarch Special, Victor Talking Machine, USA c. 1912


Model BK "Jewel" graphophone, The Columbia Phonograph Co., USA 1905 - 1909.


Reginaphone, The Regina Music Box Company, USA 1907


"Phonoharp," (plucked lute, phonograph, lamellaphone), San Francisco, CA, 2006 made by Walter Kitundu.


QVO (turntable mixer), Vestax Corporation, China 2005.


Technics SL1200 MK2 (turntable), Matsushita Electric, 1972 - 2010, Japan; SE-30 (headphones), Pioneer, 1970s, Japan; , MX-9900 (mixer), Gemini Sound Products, USA.


DDJ-SB2 (digital turntable, Pioneer Corporation, Japan, 2017



Special thanks to the Musical Instrument Museum and to a Friend of the Phongraph Kaj Keister for his visit to the museum in March of 2023.