National Geographic : 1927 May
"No one could make Stradivarius violins by mass production.." Thomas A. Edison now Ans. There is no measure of tone quality like the human ear. For this reason I urge comparison between answers a questionnaire the New Edison and other phonographs. To this end, I have advised every Edison dealer to place-without ROM his laboratories Thomas A. Edison obligation to the prospective buyer-the New Edison has from time to time issued questionnaires, in any home where comparison with other types of Now, he has consented to become the inter- phonographs is desired. rogated-has agreed to lay bare his half- Ques. How would you describe the tone of the New century of effort to give the world perfect Re-Creation Edison Phonograph? of music. T . In plain, untechnical words, Mr. Edison here tells how he has made a marvelous musical instrument with all the painstaking care and individual detail of a Stradivarius Violin. The questions asked Mr. Edison were: Ques. Do you take advantage of the economies of mass production in the making of your phonograph? Ans. I consider the New Edison Phonograph a musical instrument and not a machine to be made in the manner of cheap furniture or other things in which the highest uniform quality is not a prime essential. Ques. Isn't it possible to make instruments of Edison quality by mass production? Ans. No greater proof of the fallacy of this, as far as phonographs and other musical instruments are con cerned, can be offered than the vain efforts of violin manufacturers to make violins of Stradivarius quality by mass production. For although every part of the instrument may be exactly alike as to size, unless there is the individual human touch, there is bound to be a variation in tone quality. Ques. How can the layman tell the difference between a phonograph made by mass production and one made by craftsmen? Ans. Anyone is apt to be satisfied with existing con ditions until he hears something better; may even ex cuse distorted tone for want of a superior instrument. But when an ordinary phonograph turned out in quantity is com pared side by side with one in which human hand work has played its part, the glaring difference instantly is apparent. Ques. What do you consider the truest test of phonograph quality? Ans. it is sneer nonsense to speak ot the tone of a phono graph or of its resonance. A phonograph should have no tone of its own. The instrument should be only a me dium of Re-Creation. Obviously you should be uncon scious of it and hear only the beautiful music it Re Creates. I worked for five years and spent more than $3,000,000 in experimental work to remove any false tone from the New Edison. Even when I, myself, was satisfied with the results I did not stop there. I insisted that the New Edison be submitted publicly to the test of side by side comparison with living artists whose performances had been recorded. Exacting music critics could detect no difference between living and Re-Created performance. * Why There NEVER Can Be a Better Phonograph After all, the phonograph serves but one purpose-to Re Create voice or instrument with human reality. When a phonograph does this, nothing more can be asked-it has reached perfection. That the New Edison Phonograph achieves this is fact not theory nor hopeful expectation. During more than 5,000 tests in Carnegie Hall, New York, Symphony Hall, Boston and in other noted music centers, side by side tests were made with living artists who sang or played before a critical public in direct comparison with the New Edison Phonograph. Eminent musical critics who attended these tests found it impossible to detect the living voices or instrumental per formances, from the New Edison Re-Creation. Thus it was proved that the New Edison Re-Creates with literal fidelity and in a way that baffles the keenest ear in the effort to detect the living performance from the Edison Record. Hear the New Edison Phonograph today at your nearest Edison dealer's-also get him to play one of the Edison 40 minute records-the inventor's latest achievement-a record no larger than the usual short playing record which permits you to enjoy without interruption a complete con cert on one double-faced record. The New Edison has always sold by comparison-compare it yourself with any other phonograph and let your own ears decide. ,he NEW EDISON PHONOGRAPH drI. WATCH FOR OTHER QUESTIONNAIRES BY MR. EDISON Like a Craftsman of some old world guild; like Stradivariusin his workshop, Edison craftsmen individually make each New Edison Phonograph.