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Film, Video The voice of the violin

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About this Item


  • The voice of the violin


  • Herbert McLean, Sr. has two adult sons, Herbert Jr., and Jack. He is also the guardian of a young woman, Marjorie. Jack is good and generous, but Herbert Sr. favors Herbert Jr. Jack and Marjorie share a love of music. She is a pianist and he is a violinist. They are playing a duet when Herbert Jr. enters the house. He spends a few minutes with his father, long enough to accuse his brother of some financial transgression that was probably his own. He then interrupts the musical performance to tell his brother that their father wants to speak to him. While Jack is out of the room being scolded for something he didn't do, Herbert, Jr. presents Marjorie with flowers and a bracelet. Jack returns to see that Herbert Jr. is courting Marjorie. He smiles indulgently and quietly leaves. However, after an evening out with Marjorie, Herbert Jr. heads off to meet another woman. He and Jack both come into an inheritance. Herbert Jr. gambles away all of his money, while Jack buys a Stradivarius violin. Herbert Sr. berates Jack again, this time for squandering his inheritance on a "fiddle". Late one night, Herbert Jr. sneaks into the study to steal bonds from his father's safe. When he is caught, he blames it on Jack. Herbert Sr. kicks Jack out of the house. Jack takes his Stradivarius and goes to New York City to seek his fortune. After months of looking for work, he meets a prospersous man who is very impressed with the violin, and offers to help Jack. Meanwhile, Herbert Jr., still gambling, uses his father bonds as security for an I.O.U.. A gambler comes to the house to collect on the debt. Finally Herbert Sr. realizes that he has been abusing the wrong son, and banishes Herbert Jr. The father then launches an nation-wide search for Jack. When it fails, Marjorie proposes a trip to New York City to take her guardian's mind off his loss. While there, they are invited to a demonstration of the new Diamond Disc Phonographs at the Edison Shop. Listening intently to the recording, Marjorie recognizes the violinist. It is Jack. She and Herbert Sr. head up to the Edison Recording Laboratory in Orange, New Jersey. They find Jack and all is forgiven. Jack explains to them that "The Edison Diamond Disc is the laboratory re-creation of music, not a mere, mechanical reproduction". After a panoramic shot of the Edison complex, Jack says "In accomplishing the actual re-creation of music by means of this new invention, Mr. Edison spent four years of research work in acoustics and chemistry and over two million dollars in experiments alone." After another panoramic shot of the buildings, Jack exclaims, "There he is now, Mr. Edison, himself."


  • Turbett, Ben, film director
  • Fulton, Helen, 1894- actor
  • O'Malley, Pat, 1890-1966, actor
  • Brower, Robert, 1850-1934, actor
  • King, Carleton S., actor
  • Thomas A. Edison, Inc., production company, film distributor
  • Edison Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • [United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1915]


  • -  Edison, Thomas A.--(Thomas Alva),--1847-1931
  • -  Thomas A. Edison, Inc.--Drama
  • -  Fathers and sons--Drama
  • -  Sibling rivalry--Drama
  • -  Stradivarius violin--Drama
  • -  Gambling--Drama
  • -  Sound recording industry--Drama


  • Melodramas (Motion pictures)
  • Silent films
  • Short films
  • Fiction films


  • -  ©Thomas A. Edison, Inc. 1915 copyright notice on film
  • -  Duration: approximately 20 min. at 18 fps.
  • -  Additional holdings for this title may be available. Contact reference librarian.
  • -  Source used: Overview of the Edison Motion Pictures by Genre viewed May 4, 2020 on the Library of Congress WWW site; Internet movie database, May 4, 2020; Copyright catalog, motion pictures, 1912-1939.
  • -  Helen Fulton, Pat O'Malley, Robert Brower, Carlton King, James Harris.
  • -  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
  • -  The Voice of the violin was made to promote Edison phonograph technology, incorporating a narrative story as a means to demonstrate the product. The Edison laboratory buildings are depicted in the film and Thomas Edison himself makes a brief appearance at the end.


  • viewing print 2 film reels of 2 (approximately 570 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • FAB 6129, FAB 6134 (viewing print)


  • Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C. 20540 USA dcu

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 00694140

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Turbett, Ben, Film Director, Helen Fulton, Pat O'Malley, Robert Brower, Carleton S King, and Edison Collection. The Voice of the Violin. produceds by Thomas A. Edison, Inc.Uction Company, Film Distributor [United States: Edison Manufacturing Co, 1915] Video.

APA citation style:

Turbett, B., Fulton, H., O'Malley, P., Brower, R., King, C. S. & Edison Collection. (1915) The Voice of the Violin. Thomas A. Edison, Inc.Uction Company, prod [United States: Edison Manufacturing Co] [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Turbett, Ben, Film Director, et al. The Voice of the Violin. prod by Thomas A. Edison, Inc.Uction Company, Film Distributor [United States: Edison Manufacturing Co, 1915] Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.