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NAMM Show Report

Wax Cylinder

An early method of recording and reproducing sound, and a form of the phonograph cylinder, Wax Cylinders were in the mass market stream from the 1880s through the 1920s. Wax Cylinders had sound recordings in the grooves on the outside of hollow cylinders of slightly soft wax. These cylinders could be easily removed and replaced on the spindle of the machine that played them. These early cylinder records would commonly wear out after they were played a few dozen times (although, “indestructible” types were eventually created). Cylinder recordings continued to compete with the growing disc record market into the 1910s, when discs won the commercial battle. In that decade Columbia (which had been making both discs and cylinders) switched exclusively to discs, and Edison started marketing their own disc records as well. Wax Cylinders were a read and write technology.

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