When Was the Record Player Invented?

Record player is an excellent invention in the world; however, not everyone knows the history of the record player thoroughly. Read this article to find out
by Helen Appling | Updated: November 8, 2020

The invention of the record player plays a vital role in the history of home entertainment. It is difficult to deny that the record player is the easiest way for people to experience high-fidelity music at home.

Well, nothing lasts forever. Over time, this product sank into oblivion due to the appearance of CD and later digital downloads. However, the record player surprisingly rose up and became king once again.

The piece of machinery has a long-standing history with many ups and downs. Scroll down to take a closer look at the history of the record player below.

What is the record player?

when was the record player invented

A record player is a device on which you can play a recorded disk to listen to the music or other sounds on it. This disk, which is known as a phonograph record, has a spiral, undulating groove. And the disk is

placed on the motor-driven turntable of the player. When the record spins, the turntable’s needle starts to travel along the tiny groove.

The ridges during movement cause vibrations of the needle, which turn into sound waves. Then, these waves become music after getting amplified at a constant speed.

How many types of record players are there?

There are three types of record players for you to choose, including 78s, 33s, 45s. These types are named after the revolutions per minute (RPM) of each. These terms help you know precisely the speed at which the record is played.

The time 33 RPMs are allowed to rotate is 22 minutes per side. Meanwhile, 78 RPMs are capable of playing for about three to four-minute per side.

When it comes to audio quality, 45 RPM records are the same with 78 RPMs. However, they are less expensive, so they quickly surpass 78 RPMs in terms of popularity.

When was the record player invented?

The initiation of a record player

In 1857, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invented the first version of a record player called the phonautograph. However, this device was not able to play the sound back. It was utilized mainly in lab settings to inscribe airborne noise onto paper for visual study.

The growth of the phonograph

In 1877, Thomas Edison was the inventor of the phonograph. This device could both play and record sounds thanks to tinfoil, which was wrapped along with a cardboard cylinder for playback.

Later, the invention of Thomas Edison was added wax to record the sound waves by Alexander Graham Bell. This change led to the introduction of graphophone.

Thomas Edison

Berliner’s breakthrough

Emile Berliner invented the gramophone, which was later considered as the basis of the contemporary record player. This device was made of shellac and hard rubber.

However, it was made with vinyl later. Unlike Edison, who used the cylinder, Emile Berliner created his gramophone interpreting grooves on the flat discs. This is the point when vinyl records became essential.

Mass release

In 1895, the first record player was produced to the masses. This gramophone record player gained incredible popularity until the introduction of the radio.

Although radio did not make the record player forgotten completely, it took all the spotlight of the record player for several years.

The period that record players sold well was during the 1930s and 1940s. However, the time this device became mainstream was a couple of decades later.

The golden age of the record player

During the 1960s and the 1970s was the golden age of the record player. This invention became better-known thanks to the publication of the first turntable model to provide stereo playback.

The reproduction of high-fidelity sound hit the scene and was sought-after by a lot of people.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the period that the automatic turntable showing high-fidelity was a huge success was in the early 1960s.

Also, during this era, Electrohome introduced a new invention of the record player. Designed with classic wooden stereo consoles, this item was called the space-aged Apollo Record Player.

A new use for the record player

In the 1980s and 1990s, hip hop DJs found out a creative way to use record player turntables. They connected the audio mixers and scratched the vinyl against the needle by hand. Hence, a different rhythmic instrument of sorts was made.

Nowadays, thousands of people still use the record player to play music. Besides, several hip hop artists have utilized this device along with mixers to create a fresh rhythmic factor to music.

The return of Vinyl

After several years of the development of CDs and digital music, vinyl has been brought back into the mainstream by niche music audiences

and hardcore audiophiles. Now, vinyl once again appears in major department stores, grocery stores as well as independent record stores.

What is more, most of the artists are now making their newest albums available with stunning cover work on vinyl.

Also, they provide free digital downloading the purchase to allow many people to enjoy this longboarding technology today.

It cannot be denied that a lot of people are interested in vinyl. As a result, many innovations of record players are introduced to the market to meet the requirement of users, such as vertical record players.

Final thoughts

In sum, the record player has a long-standing history. It has managed to exist throughout the last century and resurge in the modern era. Thanks to the invention of record players, people have a chance of listening to high-fidelity sound at home easily.

Have you completely understood the history of the record player? Share this article with your friends!


  • https://blog.electrohome.com/history-record-player/
  • https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/record-player2.htm
  • https://www.whathifi.com/features/a-brief-history-of-the-turntable-and-vinyl-records