Playback of Cylinder Recordings

Due to the very nature of cylinder construction and composition, playback of cylinders can be difficult to achieve and can, over time, using an incorrect reproducer, degrade or permanently damage a recording.

Also, repeated playback of cylinders can diminish fidelity and degrade recorded signals etched on the soft surface of a recording. Additionally, when exposed to humidity, mould can penetrate a cylinders surface and cause the recording to have additional surface noise that would not necessarily be there.

Depending on the type of cylinder, different playback styli reproducers can be employed to help diminish detracting noise artefacts and improve overall audio fidelity.

The following list may be of help when determining the suitable type of playback styli necessary for proper cylinder reproduction:

Cylinder Reproducers – 
REPRODUCER DESCRIPTION SUGGESTED CYLINDER TYPE
‘Standard Speaker’ The Standard Speaker was introduced in 1889 and  is actually both a recorder and reproducer.
The AUTOMATIC The Automatic was introduced in 1892. This reproducer has a stylus bar mounting which automatically allowed the stylus to align itself in the record groove (hence its name).
Model B Reproducer The Model B had a much heavier weight than the Automatic and was intended for use with the denser dark brown wax then in use. The Model B was discontinued in 1907.
  • Dark brown cylinders
Model C Reproducer Introduced in 1902 and is similar to the Model B reproducer. (See above)
  • Moulded Black Wax cylinders
Model D Reproducer
Model H Reproducer Very similar to the Model C, differing only in the stylus & stylus bar. The stylus was sapphire with the tip in the shape of a button, which was positioned so that its edge tracked the groove. The early stylus bar was of two thickness with the a V-shaped stop to limit lateral movement. Later Model-H’s had a stylus bar of uniform thickness and the V-stop was omitted. The diaphragm was copper.
  • 4-Minute Amberol cylinders
  • Indestructible 2 Minute cylinders
  • Edison’s Blue Amberol cylinders
Later Model H Reproducer Designed to use on Edison Concert phonographs.
Model J Reproducer Designed to use on Edison Concert phonographs. Similar to the Model H reproducer.
  • Standard size cylinders
Model K Reproducer
Model L Reproducer
  • 4-Minute Amberol
  • Indestructible 2 Minute cylinders
  • Indestructible 4 Minute cylinders
  • Blue Amberol cylinders
Model M Reproducer
  • 2 Minute cylinders
  • 4 Minute cylinders
Model N Reproducer
Model O Reproducer
Model R Reproducer
  • 4 Minute Amberol cylinders
Model S Reproducer
  • 2 Minute cylinders
  • 4 Minute cylinders
  • NOT – Brown Wax cylinders
Diamond A Designed for Amberola’s I, III and Concert (formerly known as the Opera) phonographs. Uses a diamond stylus and has a diaphragm of rice paper and cork.
  • Edison’s Blue Amberol Records
  • Indestructible 2 & 4-minute
  • NOT FOR USE ON – Any type of Wax cylinder
Diamond B Designed for all cylinder phonographs produced by Edison since 1896 which were outfitted with either 4-minute or combination 2 and 4-minute gearing. Uses a diamond stylus and has a diaphragm of rice paper and cork.
  • Edison’s Blue Amberol Records
  • Indestructible 2 & 4-minute
  • NOT FOR USE ON – Any type of Wax cylinder
Diamond C With the introduction of the Amberola 30, 50 and 75 in 1915, the Diamond C reproducer is best to use. Uses a diamond stylus and has a diaphragm of rice paper and cork.
  • Edison’s Blue Amberol Records
  • Indestructible 2 & 4-minute
  • NOT FOR USE ON – Any type of Wax cylinder
The Indestructible Reproducer The Indestructible reproducer were intended for playing that Indestructible Celluloid cylinders and were not wax cylinders.
  • Indestructible Celluloid cylinders
The Mobley Reproducer The Mobley reproducer is actually a modification of the Edison Automatic reproducer, featuring an added weight for greater volume, a metal diaphragm and a domed sound chamber.
  • Edison’s Blue Amberol Records
The Blackman Reproducer The Blackman reproducer was a modification of the Edison Automatic. This reproducer featured a domed sound chamber.
Edison-Bell ‘Crystol’ Reproducer Edison-Bell reproducers were actually intended for that British company’s product but fit the Edison carrier eye as well. The Edison-Bell  ‘crystol’ reproducer was meant for playing celluloid cylinders.
The Argosy Reproducer
The Max Wurcker Reproducer
The Ediphone
Confocal microscopy (Laser)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* – This table is for guidance only.