How Historical Furnishings Tell The Story Of Technological Progress

source: Bargain John's Antiques

The antique oak cylinder record cabinet made for the storage of Edison phonograph cylinders is one of the interesting relics belonging to the age of recorded sound. Not only these cabinets were functionally important but were also one of the earliest examples of the trend of home entertainment of the early 20th century.

Usually made from fine oak because of the robustness and beauty of the wood, these cabinets were intended to house the wax coated cylindrical records that early phonographs used to produce sound. The cabinets were quite detailed in their designs, from plain to very ornate and were similar to the Victorian and Edwardian designs. Inside them the shelves or slots were designed for the cylinders and their location ensured that the records were easily retrievable and well arranged.

source: Bargain John’s Antiques

The oak cylinder record cabinet was one of the best designs that combined both the form and the function perfectly. It was mainly used to protect the wax cylinders which were used during recording and were therefore easily damaged. It can be noted that the design provided as much protection as possible to each cylinder from dust and physical interference that may damage the recordings. It was a visual masterpiece, thus, the external part of the cabinet was appealing and reflected the owner’s preference and social standing.

In the period of Thomas Edison’s phonographic inventions, recorded sound was an innovation that revolutionised entertainment and communication. Having a phonograph was considered being up to date while having a special oak cabinet for the records was the indication of a person’s interest in the latest technology of that time. These, therefore, were not just pieces of furniture, they were part of the homes and their occupants’ lives because they contained music and spoken word records, which one could play to fill the house with sound at his or her desire.

source: Scranton Antiques

The cabinets and the cylinders that these cabinets contained became popular and thus laid the foundation for the contemporary music industry. These are the sets that capture a time when listening to the recorded sound in the home moved from being a curiosity to a common leisure activity thus providing a foundation for the consumption of culture through music and audio media. Thus they not only belong to the category of antique items but also are historical documents.

Thus, the antique oak cylinder record cabinet serves as a nice piece of furniture that reflects the history of recorded sound – the epoch of the technological breakthrough that revolutionized the society. It makes one admire not only the workmanship and the designs of the products of a previous generation but also the effects that these inventions have brought about as to how we receive media today.

source: Renaissance Antiques