Dictaphone and Ediphone

The Dictaphone trademark was registered in 1907 by the Graphophone Company founded by Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter in 1888 that sold the first office dictation machines. Thomas Edison began to sell business dictation cylinder phonographs in 1905, and introduced the Ediphone in 1916. The Columbia Graphophone Company made Dictaphones until it sold the business to the new Dictaphone Corporation in 1923. Recordings were made on wax cylinders until 1947 when belts were introduced.

A Dictaphone is at the center of the offices of the Hillyard Chemical Company, St. Joseph Missouri, ca.1929,
photo courtesy of Jeff Hower and Hillyard Industries


Congressional reporter using dictaphone 1908, from LC
blind stenographer using dictaphone 1910, from LC
All conversations between airliners and airport control room were recorded on these dictaphones. Municipal airport, Washington, DC, July 1941, by Jack Delano for FSA
Edison film "The Stenographer's Friend," 1910, from LC


Dictaphone made by the Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co. of New York ca. 1907
from Smithsonian NMAH
Dictaphone made by the Columbia Graphophone Manufacturing Co. of New York ca. 1907
from Smithsonian NMAH
office desk with Ediphone ca. 1920
from Smithsonian NMAH
office desk with Ediphone ca. 1920
from Smithsonian NMAH


2007 by Steven E. Schoenherr. All rights reserved.

NMAH digital photos taken June 21, 1999 by Schoenherr | Return to NMAH or Recording Technology History Notes | this page revised March 22, 2007