Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Time Machine

Our frigid winter just got a little warmer. Although the temps have risen a little bit this week, I'm not talking about the thermometer.

We are enjoying warm memories from a blast from the past in the form of a 1912 phonograph.
We received this antique Edison disc phonograph from Lady Di's Grandma Ollie a few years ago. We finally took it in for repairs last fall and just brought it home this winter. It works great. It still has that dusty antique store smell too.

For its debut, the kids weren't sure what to expect. "Will it sound like a CD?", they asked.

"Not quite.", I answered.

They were still excited to watch it in action. They both thought it might be loud judging by its size, so they held their ears in anticipation.

I slowly turned the crank to wind it up. I set the record spinning and placed the needle. A very scratchy, but quite musical, march played. Both kids thought it was pretty cool. Number One Son, of course, was full of questions.

"What is that scratchy sound?"

"How does it work?"

"How old is it?"

"Do we have any Green Day records?" No, but we do have "When the Harvest Moon Shines" and "The President Harding March".

"Who is President Harding?"

"Some dude from ancient times.", I answered with Dad-authority.

When we picked up the phonograph we also bought a box of random records for $5. We haven't made it through the whole box yet. Unfortunately, our Edison only plays records from before WWII. These discs are quite thick and tough. If we were to play a newer LP on our player, the needle (which is closer to a small nail than an actual needle) would probably cut the disc into spiral fries. It's also interesting that each disc tells what kind of song it plays. Along with the song title, it tells you if it is a Fox Trot, Two Step, March or Break Dancing record. So after the first few songs, the kids wanted to go to the next step.

"Can I turn the crank?" "I want to put the needle on the record!"

As the kids cranked, I explained that this was how Grandma Ollie and Grandma Peg listened to music when they were young.

Once they each had had a turn to run the hardware, the novelty started to wane. "That's nice Dad, but I'm going to watch iCarly now."

Lady Di and I stayed in the den for a few more songs. We still have some shining up to do and a little fabric repair for the front grill. But other than that, we have a fine new piece of antique furniture added to our music room.


The Father of Five said...

Totally cool!!

It's amazing to think that in just one generation the idea that the LP has disappeared...

You and I are close to the same age... My first musical purchases were made on LP (then converted over to cassette) - it was not until my later teens that I moved into the world of the CD...

And by the time N1S and SP are going to be fully "indoctrinated" into the music scene, I suspect even CD's will be a thing of the past...

Even now, #2 of 5 would rather just "download" his music instead of buying a CD.

Now, one thing I would LOVE to get would be a console tube type radio - with that warm glow... and hum...

Now, if I could just get the kids to turn off the TV and listen to some Old Time Radio with me!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you :-) check out that emo boy one at this blog:

James (SeattleDad) said...

Awesome. All the cool music is being released on vinyl these days.

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Anonymous said...

Technology really is an inescapable aspect of our daily lives, and I can say with 99% certainty that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as the price of memory falls, the possibility of copying our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I dream about every once in a while.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i[/url] DS FFOpera)

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.