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The Emile Berliner Musée des Ondes

A small museum in Montreal is dedicated to preserving the memory of early sound recording and aerospace engineering. If those two things sound widely divergent to you, that's understandable, until you learn a little bit about electrical genius Emile Berliner.

In 1887, Berliner patented the Gramophone, which used a stylus to produce sound waves by following a horizontally-modulating line on a disc. Thomas Edison might have invented the phonograph, but it was Berliner who first put recordings on a flat disc. After losing the American sales rights to his invention, he moved to Montreal in 1904, and established the Berliner Gramophone Company in the neighborhood of Saint-Henri.

The old factory has undergone a lot of changes during the past century. Berliner Gramophone eventually would become RCA-Victrola, memorable for its logo of the little dog “Nipper” transfixed by the sound of his master’s voice emanating from a gramophone. Eventually, RCA would be drafted into the space race, and Montreal saw the dawning of its involvement in the aerospace industry, which continues today.

Juergen Horn and Mike Powell got to visit the museum, which is still unpacking after losing its exhibition space. Still, they were treated to a look through the museum plus the private storage areas in the old RCA factory and the attached recording studio as well. Learn more about the the Musée des Ondes and the history of audio you never knew at For 91 Days.


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