Berliner gramophone, 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Emile Berliner was a German clerk in a Washington haberdashers. In 1887 he patented a form of recording in which sound waves were photoengraved as a wavy spiral on a zinc disc. He called his machine the Gramophone. Unlike Edison's phonograph cylinders, gramophone discs could be stamped out cheaply; eventually, using wax for recording, they became the basis of the record industry. But the first commercial appearance of Berliner's invention was this toy, made in Germany by Kammerer und Reinhardt of Waltershausen.