Edison Coffin Lid Cylindrical Record Player

My grandfather bought and used extensively an Edison Coffin Lid Cylindrical Record player. My father inherited it, and I in turn inherited it from him. It looks like this:

As evidence of his usage, there are 180 cylinders. The cylinders look like this

IMG_0954The name of the artist and the “cut” is embossed on the end of the cylinder.

The cylinders were packed in cardboard tubes. This is a tube and a cylinder.


The player was spring driven, here is a picture of the handle and, in the framed photograph above it the original owner of the player. The little baby is me. I haven’t changed much.  The spring drove a threaded bar ensured that the needle moved across the cylinders length.


The sound was produced by a needle causing a diaphragm to vibrate at the apex of a curved pyramid. It was, if you like a mechanically driven horn.


Volume control? You stuffed a piece of cloth into the narrow part of the horn. The cloth you can see in the next picture is one of my fathers old vests. Just maintaining familial contact I guess.

You can see the instrument in action here: