Lyric Phonograph

Manufactured by the Lyraphone Company of America.  New York, NY

Information and images compiled by: Glenn Longwell

Thanks to Jim Schaffer for the images on this page.
Article about the Lyric phonograph from Talking Machine World, April 1916, page 56.
Full page ad in Talking Machine World, April 1916, page 24.  Click on image for larger picture.

According to research by Allan Sutton the trademark filing by Lyraphone for the Lyric phonograph claims use of Lyric as a phonograph brand since October 1915.  Looking through the trade magazine The Talking Machine World there appears to be no mention of Lyric in the latter third of 1915.  The first appearance I can find is the article and full page ad shown below from April 1916.  According to the article it is claimed the phonograph has been around for six months but are saying it is "now ready."  So this would appear to be the first time it was commercially available in any quantities.

There are two patents covering this phonograph.  The first one was filed on October 27, 1915, patent number 48,397 and was awarded on January 4, 1916.  This first patent covered the design of the case for the phonograph.  The second patent, 1,287,763, filed on November 23, 1915 and granted on December 17, 1918 covered the tonearm.  For the tonearm the claim was a new design that would improve the sound by making the tonarm out of a soft material to deaden any extraneous sounds you get from a metal tonearm.  It is also easy to remove and cheaper to produce.  The tonearm was to be made of rubber.  Both patents are by Mark Jay Samuels, Vice President of Lyraphone.

The full page ad taken out in The Talking Machine World in April 1916 (click on link below) shows that they went to market with this rubber tonearm.  The three examples I have seen of this phonograph all have metal tonearms, including the one above.  My guess is that these tonearms did not stand the test of time and became dried out and cracked, requiring them to be replaced.  This full page ad also claims that "every part of this machine is manufactured by us" and gives their address is 220 Fifth Avenue, New York. Unfortunately there's not a better picture of the reproducer in this article to see if there were any identifying marks to know what it looks like.

I still have some research to do to find out when they stopped producing this machine.  However, by February 1917 Lyraphone was not listed in the trade directory of The Talking Machine World as a machine producer.  In July 1917 when Lyraphone first announced to the trade their entry into the record business there is mention about the company going through a reorganization.  It also mentions moving its offices "several months ago" from 220 Fifth Avenue to 12 West 37th Street, New York, with the factory at 31-45 Steuben St., Brooklyn, NY.  So, sometime before February 1917 they failed as a machine producer and by July of that year they had re-emerged as a record producer, starting out making 10" and 12" vertical cut records.

If you have one of these phonographs please write to me.  I'm interested in seeing how many still exist and whether they have the original tonearm and reproducer.  Thanks.