Music cylinder

Object Number: 
2002.1.3265
Date: 
1905-1912
Medium: 
Paper, wax, celluloid
Dimensions: 
Case: 4 5/8 x 2 5/8 in. diameter; cylinder: 4 x 2 1/8 in diameter
Description: 
An original cardboard tube box containing an Edison recorded cylinder. The box is printed with a photolithographic portrait of Edison, and reads, in red and black, "Edison Gold Moulded Records/ Echo All Over The World/ Edison Laboratory, Orange, N.J." with a warning against unauthorized reproduction and a list of patents, the latest of which is 1905. The black cylinder is wax applied to celluloid, embossed around the top rim with a facsimile of Edison's signature, the catalogue number and title of the selection.
Gallery Label: 
The song on this cylinder reflects the Jim Crow era with the unfortunate and offensive title of this duet "Nigger Loves His Possum". From January 1902 until 1912--that is, between the manufacture of the rare brown wax cylinders and common blue ones--the Edison Company employed the "Gold Moulded" process. Master metal molds (moulds) were formed from the original recording, and melted wax was fed into the working mold whose grooving was in negative. These were called "two-minute" cylinders though performances may not last exactly two minutes. An estimated 8000 different titles were issued on black wax with total production running into the tens of millions, yet they are rare due to fragility and proneness to fungus.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Bella C. Landauer
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group