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Volta Bureau
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Volta Laboratory and Bureau is located in District of Columbia
Location: 3414 Volta Pl., NW
Washington, D.C.
Coordinates: 38°54′34″N 77°4′9″W / 38.90944°N 77.06917°W / 38.90944; -77.06917Coordinates: 38°54′34″N 77°4′9″W / 38.90944°N 77.06917°W / 38.90944; -77.06917
Built/Founded: (1885) 1893
Architect: Peabody and Stearns
Architectural style(s): Neoclassical
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: November 28, 1972[1]
Designated NHL: November 28, 1972[2]
NRHP Reference#: 72001436

The Volta Laboratory and the Volta Bureau, also associated with and variously known as the Alexander Graham Bell Laboratory, the Bell Carriage House and the Bell Laboratory, were created in the NW area of Washington, D.C. by Alexander Graham Bell.

The Volta Laboratory portion was founded in 1880–1881 with Charles Sumner Tainter and Bell's cousin, Chichester Bell.[3]

The Volta Bureau portion was later founded in 1887 by Bell "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf", and merged with the American Association for the Promotion and Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD) in 1908.[4] It has operated since that time as the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.



The current building, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, was constructed in 1893 under the direction of Alexander Graham Bell to serve as a center of information for deaf and hard of hearing persons. Bell, best known for receiving the first telephone patent in 1876, was also a prominent figure of his generation in the education of the deaf. Both his grandfather and father were teachers of speech and the younger Bell worked with them. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Bell moved to Canada with his family in 1870 following the deaths of his brothers, and a year later moved to Boston to teach at a special day school for deaf children. He became a renowned educator by opening a private normal class to train teachers of speech to the deaf and as a professor of vocal physiology and the mechanics of speech at Boston University. During this time he also invented the phonautograph, the multiple telegraph and the speaking telegraph, or telephone.

In 1879, Bell and his wife Mabel Hubbard, who had been deaf from early childhood, moved to Washington, DC The following year, the French government awarded Bell the Volta Prize of 50,000 francs for the invention of the telephone. Bell used the money to found the Volta Laboratory Association, along with his cousin Chichester A. Bell and Sumner Tainter. The laboratory focused on research for the analysis, recording and transmission of sound. In 1887, the Volta Laboratory Association sold the record patents they had developed to the American Graphophone Company (later to evolve into Columbia Records). Alexander Bell, bent on improving the lives of the deaf, took a portion of his share of the profits to found the Volta Bureau as an instrument "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the deaf".

The Volta Bureau worked in close cooperation with the American Association for the Promotion of the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (the AAPTSD) which was organized in 1890, electing Bell as President. The Volta Bureau officially merged with the Association in 1908, and has been known as the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf since 1956.

Bell's 1893 Volta Bureau building

Between 1989 and 1993, the Bureau was located in the carriage house at the rear of the home of Bell's father (Alexander Melville Bell), at 1527 35th Street in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, physics research was conducted at Bell's earlier laboratories at 1325 'L' Street, in Washington. D.C.,[5] and from the autumn of 1880 at 1221 Connecticut Avenue.[3][6] The work of the Bureau increased to such a volume that in 1893 Bell constructed a neoclassic yellow brick and sandstone building to specifically house the institution. It was constructed across the street from his father's house, which was the original headquarters of the both the Bureau and the Laboratory. On May 8, 1893, Bell’s 13-year-old prodigy, Helen Keller, performed the sod-breaking ceremony for the construction of the new Volta Bureau building.[7][3]

The 'Volta Bureau' was so named in 1887 at the suggestion of John Hitz, its first superintendent, and Bell's prior researcher. Hitz remained its first superintendent until his death in 1908.[8] Bell's former trust, the Volta Fund, was also renamed the Volta Bureau Fund, except for $25,000 that Bell diverted to the AAPTSD,[9] one of several organizations for the deaf that Bell donated some $450,000 to starting in the 1880s.[10]

The building, a neoclassical Corinthian templum in antis structure of closely matching golden yellow sandstone and Roman brick with architectural terracotta details, was built in 1893 to a design by Peabody and Stearns of Boston.[11] Its design is unique in the Georgetown area due to its Academic Revival style. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.[2][12]

Laboratory projects

A rare 1884 laboratory photo showing the experimental recording of voice patterns by a photographic process.

The Volta Laboratory Association, or Volta Associates, was created by formal legal agreement on October 8, 1881 (backdated to May 1 of the same year), creating the Volta Laboratory Association to be the owner of their patents.[3] It was dissolved in 1886 when its sound recording intellectual property assets were transferred into the Volta Graphophone Company. The association was composed of Alexander Graham Bell, Sumner Tainter and Bell's cousin, renowned British chemist Dr. Chichester Bell.

During the 1880s the Volta Associates worked on various projects, at times either individually or collectively.[3][13] Originally, work at the laboratory was to focus on telephone applications, but then shifted to phonographic research at the prompting of Tainter.[6] The laboratory's projects and achievements included (partial list): well as several other important, and commercially decisive improvements to the phonograph, during which they created the tradename for one of their products –the Graphophone (a playful transposition of phonograph).



Bell and Tainter's photophone receiver, one part of the device to conduct optical telephony.

The photophone, also known as a radiophone, was invented jointly by Bell and his then-assistant Sumner Tainter on February 19, 1880, at Bell's 1325 'L' Street laboratory in Washington, D.C.[19][20]

Bell believed the photophone was his most important invention. The device allowed for the transmission of sound on a beam of light. On April 1, 1880, and also described by plaque as occurring on June 3, Bell transmitted the world's first wireless telephone message on his newly invented form of telecommunication, the far advanced precursor to fiber-optic communications. The wireless call was sent from the Franklin School to the window of Bell's laboratory, some 213 meters away.[21][22][23]

Of the eighteen patents granted in Bell's name alone, and the twelve he shared with his collaborators, four were for the photophone, which Bell referred to as his 'greatest achievement', writing that the photophone was "the greatest invention [I have] ever made, greater than the telephone".[24]

Bell transferred the photophone's rights to the National Bell Telephone Company in May, 1880.[25] The master patent for the photophone (U.S. Patent 235,199 Apparatus for Signalling and Communicating, called Photophone), was issued in December 1880,[23] many decades before its principles could be applied to practical applications.

Sound recording and phonograph development

Early challenge

Bell and his two associates took Edison's tinfoil phonograph and modified it considerably to make it reproduce sound from wax instead of tinfoil. They began their work in Washington, D. C., in 1879, and continued until they were granted basic patents in 1886 for recording in wax.[26]

They preserved some 20 pieces of experimental apparatus, including a number of complete machines, at the Smithsonian Institution. Their first experimental machine was sealed in a box and deposited in the Smithsonian archives in 1881. The others were delivered by Alexander Graham Bell to the National Museum in two lots in 1915 and 1922. Bell was an old man by this time, busy with his aeronautical experiments in Nova Scotia.[26]

In 1947 the Museum received the key to the locked box of experimental "Graphophones," as they were called to differentiate them from the Edison machine. In that year Mrs. Laura F. Tainter donated to the Museum 10 bound notebooks, along with Tainter's unpublished autobiography. This material described in detail the strange creations and even stranger experiments which led in 1886 to the greatly improved phonographs that were to help found the recording industry.[26][27]

Thomas A. Edison had invented the phonograph in 1877. But the fame bestowed on Edison for this invention (sometimes called his most original) was not due to its efficiency. Recording with his tinfoil phonograph was too difficult to be practical, as the tinfoil tore easily, and even when the stylus was properly adjusted, its reproduction of sound was distorted and squeaky, and good for only a few playbacks; nevertheless Edison had hit upon the secret of sound recording. However immediately after his discovery he did not improve it, allegedly because of an agreement to spend the next five years developing the New York City electric light and power system.[26]

Meanwhile Bell, a scientist and experimenter at heart, was looking for new worlds to conquer after his invention of the telephone. According to Sumner Tainter, it was through Gardiner Green Hubbard that Bell took up the phonograph challenge. Bell had married Hubbard's daughter Mabel in 1879 while Hubbard was president of the Edison Speaking Phonograph Co., and his organization, which had purchased the Edison patent, was having trouble with its finances because people did not like to buy a machine which seldom worked well and proved difficult for an unskilled person to operate.[26]

In 1879 Hubbard got Bell interested in improving the machine, and it was agreed that a laboratory should be set up in Washington. Experiments were also to be conducted on the transmission of sound by light, which resulted in the selenium-celled Photophone. Both the Hubbards and the Bells decided to move to the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

Earlier Bell had met fellow Cambridge resident, Charles Sumner Tainter, a young instrument maker who was assigned to the U.S. Transit of Venus Commission geodetic expedition to New Zealand to observe the Transit of Venus in December 1874. Tainter subsequently opened a shop for the production of scientific instruments in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. He said of his first meeting of Bell: "... one day I received a visit from a very distinguished looking gentleman with jet black hair and beard, who announced himself as Mr. A. Graham Bell. His charm of manner and conversation attracted me greatly....".[28]

Shortly after the creation of the Bell Telephone Company Bell took his bride to Europe for an extended honeymoon. He sent his associate Tainter on to Washington from Cambridge to start up the laboratory.[27] Bell's cousin, Chichester Bell, who had been teaching college chemistry in London, agreed to come to Washington as the third associate.[26] The establishment of the laboratory was comparatively simple; according to Tainter's autobiography:[27]

"I therefore wound up my business affairs in Cambridge, packed up all of my tools and machines, and ... went to Washington, and after much search, rented a vacant house [at 1325] 'L' Street, between 13th and 14th Streets, and fitted it up for our purpose[29]... The Smithsonian Institution sent us over a mail sack of scientific books from the library of the Institution, to consult, and primed with all we could learn ... we went to work[30]...
We were like the explorers in an entirely unknown land, where one has to select the path that seems to be most likely to get you to your destination, with no knowledge of what is ahead. In conducting our work we had first to design an experimental apparatus, then hunt about, often in Philadelphia and New York, for the materials with which to construct it, which were usually hard to find, and finally build the models we needed, ourselves."[31][26]

Bell appears to have spent little time in the Volta Laboratory. Tainter's manuscript and notes showed that Bell was the person who suggested the basic lines of research, furnished the financial resources, and then allowed his associates to receive the credit for many of the inventions that resulted.[32] The experimental machines built at the Volta Laboratory include both disc and cylinder types, with some of disc types rotating about a horizontal axis, as well as a hand-powered, non-magnetic tape recorder. The records used with the machines now reside in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, and are believed to be the oldest reproducible records preserved anywhere in the world. While some are scratched and cracked, others are still in good condition.[26]


A 'G' (Graham Bell) model Graphophone being played back by a typist after its cylinder had recorded dictation.

By 1881 the Volta associates had succeeded in improving an Edison tinfoil machine to some extent. Wax was put in the grooves of the heavy iron cylinder, and no tinfoil was used. Rather than apply for a patent at that time, however, they deposited the machine in a sealed box at the Smithsonian, and specified that it was not to be opened without the consent of two of the three men. In 1937 Tainter was the only one of the Associates still living, and the box preserved at the Smithsonian was opened with his permission. For the occasion, descendants of Alexander Graham Bell gathered in Washington, however Tainter, who held a life-long admiration of Bell, was too ill to attend and remained in his home city, San Diego.[26]

The sound vibrations had been indented in the wax which had been applied to the Edison phonograph. The following was the text of the recording: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy. I am a Graphophone and my mother was a phonograph."[33] Remarked Mrs. Gilbert Grosvenor, Bell's daughter when the box was opened in 1937, "That is just the sort of thing father would have said. He was always quoting from the classics."[26]

The method of reproduction used on the machine, however, was even more interesting than the quotation. Rather than a stylus and diaphragm, a jet of air under high pressure was used. Tainter had previously recorded, on July 7, 1881:

"This evening about 7 P.M.... the apparatus being ready the valve upon the top of the air cylinder was opened slightly until a pressure of about 100 lbs. [69 newtons/scm] was indicated by the gage. The phonograph cylinder was then rotated, and the sounds produced by the escaping air could be heard, and the words understood a distance of at least 8 feet from the phonograph." The point of the jet is glass, and [it] could be directed at a single [record] groove."[26]

The associates also experimented with other stylus jets of molten metal, wax, and water.[26]

Most of the disc machines designed at the Volta Lab had their disc mounted on vertical turntables. The explanation is that in the early experiments, the turntable, with disc, was mounted on the shop lathe, along with the recording and reproducing heads. Later, when the complete models were built, most of them featured vertical turntables.[26]

One interesting exception was a horizontal seven inch turntable. The machine, although made in 1886, was a duplicate of one made earlier but taken to Europe by Chichester Bell. Tainter was granted Patent No. 385886 for it on July 10, 1888. The playing arm is rigid, except for a pivoted vertical motion of 90 degrees to allow removal of the record or a return to starting position. While recording or playing, the record not only rotated, but moved laterally under the stylus, which thus described a spiral, recording 150 grooves to the inch.[26]

The preserved Bell and Tainter records are of both the lateral cut and the Edison-style hill-and-dale (up-and-down) styles. Edison for many years used the "hill-and-dale" method with both cylinder and disc records, and Emile Berliner is credited with the invention of the lateral cut Gramophone record in 1887. The Volta associates, however, had been experimenting with both types, as early as 1881, as is shown by the following quotation from Tainter:[34]

"The record on the electro-type in the Smithsonian package is of the other form, where the vibrations are impressed parallel to the surface of the recording material, as was done in the old Scott Phonautograph of 1857, thus forming a groove of uniform depth, but of wavy character, in which the sides of the groove act upon the tracing point instead of the bottom, as is the case in the vertical type. This form we named the zig-zag form, and referred to it in that way in our notes. Its important advantage in guiding the reproducing needle I first called attention to in the note on p. 9-Vol 1-Home Notes on March 29-1881, and endeavored to use it in my early work, but encountered so much difficulty in getting a form of reproducer that would work with the soft wax records without tearing the groove, we used the hill and valley type of record more often than the other."

The basic distinction between the Edison's first phonograph patent, and the Bell and Tainter patent of 1886 was the method of recording. Edison's method was to indent the sound waves on a piece of tin-foil, while Bell and Tainter's invention called for cutting, or "engraving", the sound waves into a wax record with a sharp recording stylus.[26]

The strength of the Bell and Tainter patent was indicated by the following excerpt from a letter written by a Washington patent attorney, S. T. Cameron, who was a member of the law firm which carried on litigation for the American Graphophone Company. The letter was dated December 8, 1914, addressed to George C. Maynard, Curator of Mechanical Technology of the U.S. National Museum (now the National Museum of Natural History):[35]

"Subsequent to the issuance of the Bell and Tainter patent No. 341214, Edison announced that he would shortly produce his 'new phonograph' which, when it appeared, was in fact nothing but the Bell and Tainter record set forth in their patent 341214, being a record cut or engraved in wax or wax-like material, although Edison always insisted on calling this record an 'indented' record, doubtless because his original tin-foil record was an 'indented' record. Edison was compelled to acknowledge that his 'new phonograph' was an infringement of the Bell and Tainter patent 341214, and took out a license under the Bell and Tainter patent and made his records under that patent as the result of that license."'

Magnetic sound recordings

The other experimental Graphophones indicate an amazing range of experimentation. While the method of cutting a record on wax was the one later exploited commercially, everything else seems to have been tried at least once.[26] The following was noted on Wednesday, March 20, 1881:

"A fountain pen is attached to a diaphragm so as to be vibrated in a plane parallel to the axis of a cylinder — The ink used in this pen to contain iron in a finely divided state, and the pen caused to trace a spiral line around the cylinder as it turned. The cylinder to be covered with a sheet of paper upon which the record is made.... This ink ... can be rendered magnetic by means of a permanent magnet. The sounds were to be reproduced by simply substituting a magnet for the fountain pen...."[26]

The result of these ideas for magnetic reproduction resulted in patent U.S. Patent 341,287, granted on May 4, 1886; which dealt solely with "the reproduction, through the action of magnetism, of sounds by means of records in solid substances."[26]

Earliest tape recorder

The patent drawing for an early hand-powered non-magnetic tape recorder.

Likely the earliest known audio tape recorder was a non-magnetic, non-electric hand-powered version invented by Bell's Volta Lab and patented in 1886, as U.S. Patent 341,214.[26] It employed a 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) wide strip of wax-covered paper that was coated by dipping it in a solution of beeswax and paraffin and then had one side scraped clean, with the other side allowed to harden. The machine was built of sturdy wood and metal construction, and hand powered by means of a knob fastened to the flywheel. The wax strip passed from one eight inch (20.3 cm) diameter reel around the periphery of a pulley (with guide flanges) mounted above the 'V' pulleys on the main vertical shaft, where it came in contact with either its recording or playback stylus. The tape was then taken up on the other reel. The sharp recording stylus, actuated by a vibrating mica diaphragm, cut the wax from the strip. In playback mode, a dull, loosely mounted stylus, attached to a rubber diaphragm, carried the reproduced sounds through an ear tube to its listener.[26]

Both recording and reproducing heads, mounted alternately on the same two posts, could be adjusted vertically so that several recordings could be cut on the same 3/16 inch (4.8 mm) wide strip. While the machine was never developed commercially, it was an interesting predecessor to the modern magnetic tape recorder, which it resembled somewhat in design. The tapes and machine created by the Bell Associates, examined at one of the Smithsonian Institution's museums, had become brittle, and the heavy paper reels were warped; the machine's playback head was also missing. Otherwise, with some reconditioning they could be placed into working condition.[26]

Commercialization of phonograph patents

In 1885, when the Volta Associates were sure that they had a number of practical inventions, they filed patent applications and began to seek out investors. The Volta Graphophone Company of Alexandria, Virginia, was created on January 6, 1886 and incorporated on February 3, 1886. It was formed to control the patents and to handle the commercial development of their sound recording and reproduction inventions, one of which became the first Dictaphone.[26]

After the Volta Associates gave several demonstrations in the City of Washington, businessmen from Philadelphia created the American Graphophone Company on March 28, 1887, in order to to produce and sell the machines for the budding phonograph marketplace.[6][36] The Volta Graphophone Company then merged with American Graphophone,[6] which itself later evolved into Columbia Records.[3][13] The Howe Machine Factory (for sewing machines) in Bridgeport, Connecticut, became American Graphophone's manufacturing plant. Tainter resided there for several months to supervise manufacturing before becoming ill, but later went on to continue his inventive work for many years. The small Bridgeport plant which in its early times was able to produce three or four machines daily later became, as a successor firm, the Dictaphone Corporation.[26][36]

A later-model Columbia Graphophone of 1901.

Shortly after American Graphophone's creation, Jesse H. Lippincott used nearly $1 million of an inheritance to gain control of it, as well as the rights to the Graphophone and the Bell and Tainter patents.[36] Not long later Lippincott purchased the Edison Speaking Phonograph Company. He then created the North American Phonograph Company to consolidate the national sales rights of both the Graphophone and the Edison Speaking Phonograph.[36] In the early 1890s Lippincott fell victim to the unit's mechanical problems and also to resistance from stenographers. This would postpone the popularity of the Graphophone until 1889 when Louis Glass, manager of the Pacific Phonograph Company would popularize it again through the promotion of nickel-in-the-slot 'entertainment' cylinders.

The work of the Volta Associates laid the foundation for the successful use of dictating machines in business, because their wax recording process was practical and their machines were durable. But it would take several more years and the renewed efforts of Edison and the further improvements of Emile Berliner and many others, before the recording industry became a major factor in home entertainment.[26]


In 1887, the Volta Associates effectively sold the record patents that they had developed to the newly created American Graphophone Company through a share exchange with the Volta Graphophone Company. Bell used the considerable profits from the sale of his Graphophone shares to found the Volta Bureau as an instrument "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge relating to the Deaf",[37] and also to fund his philanthropic works on deafness. His scientific and statistical research work on deafness became so large that within the period of a few years his documentation engulfed an entire room of the Volta Laboratory in his father's backyard carriage house. Due to the limited space available at the Bell Carriage House, and with the assistance of his father who contributed US$15,000, Bell had the new Volta Bureau building constructed close by in 1893.

Bell's Volta Bureau worked in close cooperation with the American Association for the Promotion of the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf (AAPTSD), which was organized in 1890, and which elected Bell its president.[38] The Volta Bureau officially merged with the Association in 1908, and the AAPTSD was renamed as the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in 1956. Under Superintendent John Hitz's direction, the Volta Bureau became one of the world's premier centres for research on deafness and pedagogy for the deaf. Its research was later absorbed into the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf (now also known as the 'AG Bell') upon its creation when the Volta Bureau merged with the AAPTSD, with Bell's financial support.[39]

The historical record of the Volta Laboratory was greatly improved in 1947 when Laura F. Tainter, the widow of associate Sumner Tainter, donated ten surviving volumes (out of 13) of Tainter's Home Notes to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History –Volumes 9, 10 and 13 having been destroyed in a fire in September 1897.[3] The daily agenda books described in detail the project work conducted at the laboratory during the 1880s.[40]

In 1950 Mrs. Tainter donated further historical items, including Sumner Tainter's typed manuscript "Memoirs of Charles Sumner Tainter", the first 71 pages of which detailed his experiences up to 1878, plus further writings on his work at the Graphophone factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


The Volta Bureau is located at 3417 Volta Place NW, or alternatively at 1537 35th St. NW, in the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C. near Georgetown University, and close to the Foggy Bottom Metro subway stop.[12]

Laboratory patents

Patents which resulted or flowed from the Volta Laboratory Association[26]:

Patent Year Patent name Inventors
U.S. Patent 229,495 1880 Telephone call register C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 235,496 1880 Photophone transmitter A. G. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 235,497 1880 Selenium cells A. G. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 235,590 1880 Selenium cells C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 241,909 1881 Photophonic receiver A. G. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 243,657 1881 Telephone transmitter C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 289,725 1883 Electric conductor C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 336,081 1886 Transmitter for electric telephone lines C. A. Bell
U.S. Patent 336,082 1886 Jet microphone for transmitting sounds by means of jets C. A. Bell
U.S. Patent 336,083 1886 Telephone transmitter C. A. Bell
U.S. Patent 336,173 1886 Telephone transmitter C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 341,212 1886 Reproducing sounds from phonograph records A. G. Bell
C. A. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 341,213 1886 Reproducing and recording sounds by radiant energy A. G. Bell
C. A. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 341,214 1886 Recording and reproducing speech and other sounds C. A. Bell
C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 341,287 1886 Recording and reproducing sounds C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 341,288 1886 Apparatus for recording and reproducing sounds C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 374,133 1887 Paper cylinder for graphophonic records C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 375,579 1887 Apparatus for recording and reproducing speech... C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 380,535 1888 Graphophone C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 385,886 1888 Graphophone C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 385,887 1888 Graphophonic tablet C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 388,462 1888 Machine for making paper tubes C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 392,763 1888 Mounting for diaphragms for acoustical instruments C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 393,190 1888 Tablet for use in graphophones C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 393,191 1888 Support for graphophonic tablets C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 416,969 1889 Speed regulator C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 421,450 1890 Graphophone tablet C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 428,646 1890 Machine for the manufacture of wax coated tablets... C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 506,348 1893 Coin controlled graphophone C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 510,656 1893 Reproducer for graphophones C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 670,442 1901 Graphophone record duplicating machine C. S. Tainter
U.S. Patent 730,986 1903 Graphophone C. S. Tainter

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Volta Bureau". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Schoenherr, Steven. Recording Technology History: Charles Sumner Tainter and the Graphophone, History Department of, University of San Diego, revised July 6, 2005. Retrieved from University of San Diego History Department website December 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Bruce 1990
  5. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.336
  6. ^ a b c d Hoffmann, Frank W. & Ferstler, Howard. Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound: Volta Graphophone Company, CRC Press, 2005, Vol.1, pg.1167, ISBN 041593835X, ISBN 9780415938358
  7. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "Alexander Graham Bell", Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica Online, December 21, 2009.
  8. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.412–413
  9. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.412–413
  10. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.294
  11. ^ "Volta Laboratory & Bureau". Washington D.C. National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  12. ^ a b Unsigned (Undated), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Volta BureauPDF (32 KB), National Park Service  and Accompanying three photos, exterior, from 1972PDF (32 KB)
  13. ^ a b c d e Encyclopedia of World Biography. "Alexander Graham Bell", Encyclopedia of World Biography. Thomson Gale. 2004. Retrieved December 20, 2009 from
  14. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.338
  15. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.336-339
  16. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.343
  17. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.341-342
  18. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.344-347
  19. ^ Bruce 1990, pg. 336
  20. ^ Jones, Newell. First 'Radio' Built by San Diego Resident Partner of Inventor of Telephone: Keeps Notebook of Experiences With Bell, San Diego Evening Tribune, July 31, 1937. Retrieved from the University of San Diego History Department website, November 26, 2009.
  21. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.338
  22. ^ Carson 2007, pg.76-78
  23. ^ a b Groth, Mike. Photophones Revisted, 'Amateur Radio' magazine, Wireless Institute of Australia, Melbourne, April 1987 pps 12 - 17; and May 1987 pps 13 - 17.
  24. ^ Phillipson, Donald J.C., and Neilson, Laura Bell, Alexander Graham, The Canadian Encyclopedia online. Retrieved 2009-08-06
  25. ^ Bruce 1990, pg.339
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Newville, Leslie J. Development of the Phonograph at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory, United States National Museum Bulletin, United States National Museum and the Museum of History and Technology, Washington, D.C., 1959, No. 218, Paper 5, pp.69-79. Retrieved from
  27. ^ a b c Tainter, Charles Sumner. "TheTalking Machine And Some Little Known Facts In Connection With Its Early Development", unpublished manuscript in the collections of the United States National Museum.
  28. ^ Tainter. pg.2
  29. ^ Tainter pg.3
  30. ^ Tainter pg.5
  31. ^ Tainter pg.30
  32. ^ Newville, 1959. pg.79, footnote No. 4.
  33. ^ The Washington Herald, October 28, 1937.
  34. ^ Tainter, pp. 28-29
  35. ^ Newville, 1959. pg.79
  36. ^ a b c d American Graphophone Company - 1900,, Chantilly, Virginia. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  37. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.412–413
  38. ^ Bruce 1990, pp.412–413
  39. ^ Fitzgerald 1996
  40. ^ National Museum of American History. HistoryWired: A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Alexander Graham Bell And The Graphophone, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from the Smithsonian's website, 17 December 2009.

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