Throughout his major inventions of the telegraph and the telephone, Thomas A. Edison prepared his next significant creation: the phonograph. As others had mainly focussed on the recording of sound, Edison centred his efforts around a device that would reproduce such recordings. Edison's first phonograph was introduced in 1877.
His phonograph originally recorded sound onto a tin foil sheet wrapped around a rotating cylinder. A needle responding to sound vibrations produced an up and down or hill-and-dale groove in the foil. Alexander Graham Bell improved Edison's invention especially by replacing tin foil by wax.
A new single-spring motor made the first phonographs a subject for home entertainment, introduced under the Edison trademark at the end of the 19th century.
From 1901 cylinders would be molded instead of separately engraved. Although now an item of mass-production, the cylinder had one deficiency: its playtime is restricted to a maximum of 2 minutes. Also the newly developed Amberol cylinders that last up to 4 minutes would not prevent the competition of the disc record and the gramophone from taking over.sources