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Collection Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry


Emile Berliner (1851-1929)

  1. 1851

    Birth of Emile Berliner in Hanover, Germany, on May 20.

  2. 1865

    Year of his last formal schooling.

  3. 1870

    Emigrated to Washington, D.C. Spent three years working in the dry-goods store Gotthelf, Berhend and Co.

  4. 1875

    Worked as a cleanup man in laboratory of Constantine Fahlberg in New York City. Became interested in laboratory experimentation.

  5. 1876

    Invented the loose-contact telephone transmitter. Began to work for American Bell Telephone Company.

  6. 1881

    Married Cora Adler. Became an American citizen.

  7. 1886

    Began work on the gramophone.

  8. 1887

    First gramophone patent.

  9. 1888

    Successful lecture-demonstration at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Began to produce experimental discs stamped out in celluloid, then in hard rubber.

  10. 1889

    Went to Germany to demonstrate gramophone and while there made agreement with toy firm of Kammerer and Reinhardt for the production of little toy discs and hand-turned players.

  11. 1890

    First lateral-cut disc records produced in Germany, but on a small basis.

  12. 1893

    Formation of the United States Gramophone Company of Washington, D.C., to enter the commercial market.

  13. 1894

    United States Gramophone Company began business in the D.C. area.

  14. 1895

    Establishment of the Berliner Gramophone Company of Philadelphia. First discs from Duranoid.

  15. 1896

    Establishment of the National Gramophone Company of New York. Eldridge R. Johnson's machine shop in Camden, New Jersey, became the main supplier of gramophone playback machines.

  16. 1897

    Dispatch of William Barry Owen to England. Loss of Washington laboratory in powerhouse fire.

  17. 1898

    Formation of the Berliner Gramophone Company of London. Beginning of expansion into Europe. Appearance of first illegal competitor.

  18. 1899

    Appearance of illegal competitors Vitaphone and Zonophone. Berliner composed "Columbian Anthem."

  19. 1900

    Court injunction in June effectively shut down Berliner's business. He turned over his patent rights to Eldridge R. Johnson of Camden, New Jersey.

  20. 1906

    Berliner began work on helicopter.

  21. 1909

    Berliner's helicopter lifted two men from the ground. New building at the Starmont Tuberculosis Sanitarium dedicated to Berliner's father.

  22. 1913

    Berliner awarded the Elliott Cresson Medal by the Franklin Institute. He obtained a patent for a revolving cylinder motor.

  23. 1919

    Berliner very active in field of health and hygiene. Took part in production of book Muddy Jim, for which he wrote all the rhymes. Devoted much time during this period to the Zionist cause.

  24. 1924

    Bureau of Health Education established in new building built by Berliner.

  25. 1926

    Development of the acoustic tile.

  26. 1929

    Death of Emile Berliner on August 3 at the age of 78.