Thanks for the links, Rob. Don't assume I (or other listmembers) know anything about the ancient 
times of sound recording. Never TMI about this stuff!

Regarding this photo:

Does that show an electric motor to drive the disk platter?
Also, what is the funnel and what seems like a liquid container sticking out of the top for?

This photo:
described as the Berliner family singing into a Gramophone recorder in 1898, seems to show the same 
machine, from the other side.

Thanks again for bringing these photos to our attention.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Rob DeLand" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Nellie Melba' 1st records

> Tom, I assume you're familiar with the photos posted here:
> Note items 11, 13 & 16  in particular for Berliner recording equipment.
> Regards,
> Rob
> On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 7:30 AM, Michael Quinn <[log in to unmask]>wrote:
>> Hi Tom,
>> I'll answer your queries as best I can -
>> 1.
>> The Gramophone & Typewriter Company used pretty much the same
>> equipment as Victor and by 1904 were well experienced recording on wax
>> masters. The recording lathes used weight driven clockwork motors and
>> continued to do so for many years. There are no photographs of Melba
>> recording in 1904 but there are artists impressions published in
>> periodicals of the time - I think the recording apparatus was behind a
>> screen or curtain with a horn measuring about a foot across the mouth
>> projecting out into a large room. Going by early photographs there
>> must have been multiple recording horns even for the piano accompanied
>> sides.
>> 2. I blundered in saying waxes - it was shells being taken to Hanover
>> though waxes were often sent from various places in Europe to the
>> factory in Hanover. With the Melba recordings being such a prestige
>> item they did the initial processing in England. It was a not
>> infrequent occurrence for wax masters to be broken in transit to the
>> factory in the early days of European recording.
>> 3.The waxes would have been quite thick but I don't know what kind of
>> metal soap they were using to make the blanks.
>> 4.The vinyl 78s allowing for the inevitable minor problems that come
>> from age and conditions of storage are very good, They have a higher
>> surface noise than the best later acoustic recordings but are forward
>> and bright sounding and of course without the wear that is often so
>> apparent on original G&Ts. The sense of presence is quite startling
>> and I certainly now believe my grandfather who said Melba's was the
>> most carrying voice that he ever heard in person.
>> I don't know what caused the noise problems that worried the company
>> types - perhaps to do with how hot or cold the waxes were at the time
>> of recording.
>> Best Wishes
>> Mike Quinn