Monday, August 15, 2011

She Forgot To Bring Him Back

Despite what you might conclude from my last few entries, I didn't blow *all* my money last week on old postcards.

Truth be told, I also blew some of it on a "new" cylinder for our 1903 Edison home phonograph.

That cylinder features Ada Jones's rendition of "She Forgot To Bring Him Back."

According to Wikipedia, "Ada Jones (June 1, 1873 – May 2, 1922) was a popular mezzo-soprano who recorded from 1905 to the early 1920s. She was born in Lancashire, England but moved with her family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of six in 1879. She started performing on stage, including juvenile roles in the 1880s. In 1893 or 1894, she recorded some musical performances for the North American Phonograph Co., most popularly known, 'Sweet Marie'. But the demise of this company ended this recording career and it was not until 1905 that she returned to recording, after a few years doing performances at such locations as Huber's 14th Street Museum in New York City. She recorded several duets with Billy Murray and Len Spencer. She sang in a range of accents and dialects."

Thanks to YouTube and pghcoyote, you can hear what I hear when I slip this cylinder on our machine if you want to:

FYI: Our machine doesn't look much like pghcoyote's.

If you want to know what it *does* look like, watch this video that was posted by desoto1961:

NOTE: If you watch desoto1961's video with the sound on, you'll also have the pleasure of hearing another selection from Ms. Jones.

ANOTHER NOTE: If you're interested in learning how to work an old Edison home photograph, see the excellent demonstration video that desoto1961 has posted here.

YET ANOTHER NOTE: Old Edison home phonographs aren't as rare as you might think.

Ours happens to be the 200,187th one that was made.

Please let me know if you happen to have #200,186. I'm kinda curious as to where it ended up.


  1. And the best part is, it works during a power outage.
    A squirrel just had its nuts roasted in an electrical substation that had me looking for non-electrical pastimes tonight.
    Fortunately the lake runs on wind power.

  2. My high school's physics lab had an Edison 78 recorder nobody knew how to use and there weren't any wax platters for it anyway.
    The thing that always impressed me about it was the cutting needle rode into the center from the outer rim on a fixed arm, sort of like the horn does above.
    I'm talking about my generation here. In my generation every record player's needle was at the end of a tone arm which pivoted and the this caused an increasing twist toward the center. Record afficiandos worried about the twist wearing out the grooves on their records. After seening the radial arm on the old recorder I was confused why people paid hundreds or over a thousand dollars (which was enough to buy pound of gold back then) for "high-tech" turntables with adjustments to counter the twist--counter it, but not obviate it the way the radial arm did.
    I'll stop now.
    Ooh. The captcha is nonsh. Is that nonshense as in it was nonsense to wear out the records like that (and still is) when the records could be read by light or nonshalance as in I don't care because all my recordings are digimized now.

  3. Gee, thanks for posting this! Hearing this old-time music inspired me to go search for a song that I played over and over again on my grandfather's 78rpm hifi way back when I was a child. It took a lot of googling, and remarkably, it didn't show up for the first several YouTube searches I tried, yet it finally WAS there. I have to write about this later on...

    Anyway, Ada Jones is quite the sprightly talent! And the Edison phonograph is very nice. (I'd look for one, but first I need a needle to play all the old 33rpms we have.