The Stenographer’s Friend, or, What was Accomplished by an Edison Business Phonograph
P: Edison Co. USA 1910
Print: Library of Congess, Washington D.C.
“The Edison business phonograph became a dictating system. Three machines were used: the executive dictating machine, the secretarial machine for transcribing, and a shaving machine used to recycle used cylinders. This system can be seen in the Edison advertising film, The Stenographer’s Friend, filmed in 1910. The Ediphone was an enhanced version of this machine that was introduced in 1916 and increasingly grew in sales after World War I and into the 1920’s.
The 2-minute wax cylinder could not compete well beside the competitors’ disc records, which could offer up to four minutes of play time. In response, the Amberol Record was offered in November 1908, which had finer grooves than the two-minute cylinders, and thus, could last as long as 4 minutes. The two-minute cylinders became known as the Edison Two-Minute Records, and then afterwards were known as the Edison Standard Records. In 1909, a series of Grand Opera Amberols (a continuation of the two-minute Grand Opera Cylinders introduced in 1906) was introduced to attract the affluent patrons, but these did not prove successful. The Amberola I phonograph was introduced in 1909, a floor-model luxury machine with high-quality performance. This was supposed to compete with the Victrola and Grafonola.
In 1910, the company was reorganized into Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Frank L. Dyer was originally president, then Edison served as president from December 1912 until August 1926, when his son, Charles, became president, and Edison became chairman of the board.”