Music: Orthophone

Static, the imp that squeals in a radio, has long had a habitat in the polished cabinets of Victrolas. People found that in radio his mewing could be partly controlled, but in talking machines, even expensive ones, his intrusion was unavoidable. Of course it was not really static—the blaring, nasal voice they heard through the playing of a record—but a sound composed of the hum of the operating motor and the vibrations of the mica diaphragm of the soundbox. Driven to desperate shifts by radio competition, the Victor Talking Machine Co. last...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!