Issue 10

Winter 2014


Directions And Instructions And The General Principles Governing
All Talking Machines

It is difficult to describe in a few words
and with a head milled like the edge of a shilling.

This is the primary necessity:
to be placed in a proper relationship,
the movement of which starts the mechanism.

The object of the mechanism
is to revolve with regularity, to cause reproducing
and to travel over the surface in a continuous and uniform line.

Do not press on too tightly.

It is scarcely necessary to say that the machine must
(like a clock) be wound up as often as is required.

Attachment is perhaps the most essential quality to be observed.
It must be perfect, and supported at its edges
in such a manner that one of its sides is exposed.

Near the extreme end there is an overhanging arm.
If you lower the sharp point, it will destroy.
The suitable distance is everything.

There are many conditions and particulars
to make or mar success. Don’t be discouraged,
the apparent difficulty can be readily handled
and fixed in all respects.

The most acute of the senses immediately detects discord
in all parts that are in movable contact with each other.
Do not use force and never put oil on the parts that touch.

Sometimes it may be necessary to loosen,
perhaps even get cracked or broken.
To change (or vice versa) is a very simple operation.
Fix your trumpet
and the machine will do the rest.

Every system has a stud
at the end of a small bar.
A stud has the property of sliding backwards and forwards
so as to remove the knife edge.

There are differences in sizes and exact positions
but broadly speaking, the principles are the same in all
(though the cheaper types are supplied unshaved).

Keep the machine clean.
If you find that it has become sticky or stiff in places
get a new virgin mounted on the old cylinders (you can
do this several times, the motors are strong enough).

The legs should always be stuck to the surface.
If any become loose, heat them.
They may be scratched, damaged, worn out
or for some reason you may desire to part with them.
This may (and is likely to be) caused
by the balance being too far out in front.
Apply a little care and judgement
or use the small wrench provided.

A moderate degree of tightness will occur
and may last for some time
but its cost is trifling.

Pay attention:

Never attempt to be careful
or the thinnest possible.

Do not accept the risk of very light contact
or breakage in transit.

Move with sudden impulse
and very gentle pressure.

You can do no harm if you are careful of two things:
the delicate waves and a fine filmy light.

It is not necessary to fully understand the whole
before commencing.

No education is required or can be given,
nothing but experience will teach the art
of reproducing the reproducer.

Take up a portion of the slack.
If there is a gate, close and secure it.
Read carefully the 12 Directions To Be Borne In Mind.
Act upon them
and start the machine.


Dill Darling

Note: The above is a found poem based on clauses extracted from: Directions And Instructions For Thoroughly Understanding And Operating Edison’s Phonographs, And The General Principles Governing All Talking Machines. Edison-Bell Consolidated Phonograph Co Ltd, London.