Glass ceiling edison.jpg
Inventor Thomas Edison

The Phonograph is an early sound-reproducing machine that first used cylinders to record as well as reproduce sound. This anachronistic Edison model should not be mistaken for the Recording Devise.


The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison using a tin-foil cylinder  in 1877. It was then developed by Alexander Graham Bell (who also foresaw the disc gramophone as a dominant medium)  into a wax based cylinder in the mid 1880s. In the late 1880s Dr. Emile Berliner was working independently to develop a disc-based "gramophone" record using his own system. Both the cylinder and disc were developed in the early 1890s giving birth a recorded music industry.

Appearances & Mentions

The Glass Ceiling

Still Waters

Snakes and Ladders

  • Ogden listens to "After the Ball" on her phonograph for the second time.

Murdoch in Toyland

  • Detective William Murdoch claims that in order to record a cylinder for the Edison Talking Dolls one would require electricity (which was yet another anachronism, see Error below).

A Merry Murdoch Christmas

Wild Child

The Devil Inside

Shadows Are Falling

Murdoch and the Undetectable Man (mention)


  • All recordings were done acoustically, in which the recorded person would essentially yell into a recording horn in order to make a loud enough impression onto the medium's grooves. While telephones used a similar system, electrical recording was not developed until the mid 1920s. It can be speculated that the show's creators used this in order to avoid confusing the audience.


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