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Before the iPod, Before the Walkman, There Was the Mikiphone


Today we have portable audio players like the iPod that play digital files on the go. Before that, we had CD players like the Discman, and before that we had cassette tape players like the Walkman. And before that? People had the Mikiphone, a portable phonograph that played 10″ vinyl records.

mikiphone pocket phonograph

Manufactured in Switzerland from 1924 to 1927, the Mikiphone had no batteries – you had to wind up its crank to power it. But what I find strangest about the Mikiphone is that as you can see, it’s way smaller than the medium it reads. The device itself is said to be as small as a CD, but it’s still quite a stretch to say that it’s a “pocket” version because it’s quite chunky. Also, you didn’t just put a record on the middle and press a button for the Mikiphone to do its thing; you had to unfold, assemble and screw in some parts:

YouTube Preview Image

Check out the link to Core77 below for other primitive gadgets, like the first “camera phone” – a gramophone with a camera – and a portable electric phonograph. Thank goodness for the nerds, the designers, the engineers and everyone else who keep on improving our technology. The next time you complain about how your media player’s battery life only lasts half a day or that you can’t store your entire music collection in it, think of all this crap that your hip grandparents had to deal with. What we practically have nowadays are tiny boxes of magic.

[via Metro UK via Core77 via Dude Craft]

Comments (4):

  1. Davin Peterson says:

    The Creative ZEN MP3 player came out a year before the iPod. Creative had pioneerd the MP3 player, inventing the UI and owns the patent with Apple stole for their use. They sued each other. So, please recognize Creative and not Apple

  2. Jayson says:

    Davin, your anti-Apple invective is cute, but your facts are wildly inaccurate.

    You’re thinking of the Creative Nomad (the Zen didn’t come out until 2004) – and the Nomad was nothing but a rebadged Samsung Yepp. There were many MP3 players already on the market when Creative joined the game in 2000.

    Either the MPMan or the Audio Highway Listen Up was the first MP3 player, both were at least two years ahead of Samsung (who actually made the Creative player).

    The title of this article would be less understandable if it said “Before the Audio Highway Listen Up player there was the Mikiphone.”

  3. Nobody says:

    >> But what I find strangest about the Mikiphone is that [..] it’s way smaller than the medium it reads.

    Like the Discman D-88? :-)

    Maybe that’s where Sony got the idea…

  4. R4 says:

    Now THAT is sweet! Who would have thought they had their portable music waaaaaay back in the late 20’s … Certainly not pocketable, and it would take you some time to actually set it up so you can get some music going, but sweet no less!

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