A Pocket-Sized Record Player Circa 1924

posted by Jason Kottke Nov 13, 2023

a portable record player

Before the iPod, before the Walkman, there was the Mikiphone, a portable record player that folded up into a case that you could fit in your pocket. Invented circa 1924, this portable phonograph was powered by a hand-crank and could play 10-inch records.

At first glance, the closed Mikiphone appears quite compact, easily fitting inside a purse.

However, it requires some assembly, with its components stored within the case, which, when shut, measures just 11.5 cm in diameter and 4.7 cm in thickness.

The recording head and a two-piece Bakelite resonator had to be connected to the foldout tone arm before the shellac disc could be placed on the turntable’s central pin.

This precision engineering feat was awarded first prize at an international music exhibition in Geneva in 1927.

Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, a demonstration of how to assemble the Mikiphone and play records on it:

(via clive thompson)


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