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

 |  |  |  |  |  April 20, 2011

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:

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]