Dictaphone Wax Recorder, 1910's
This is an early dictaphone that recorded to a wax cylinder. It was huge, heavy and bulky but this was state of the art stuff for it's time. The rounded shelving on the bottom of the stand was for storing either blank or already recorded wax cylinders. To "erase" a cylinder already used, you had a little peeling unit that simply shaved the wax off the outside of the unit. Eventually, the cylinder wasn't any good because too much wax had to be peeled of it. By all means, you wouldn't want to get these ah too hot as they might ah melt. Developed for business executives to sound out letters their secretaries would then type, there isn't much doubt about the wax recorder being used to audio record "evidence." Speaking of business executives recording their letters and memos for others to type, I have often wondered why all the time and expense was wasted on this instead of requiring business executives to learn how to type themselves. Of course, typing was a "skill" and also required spelling skills.


The Dictaphone Wax Recorder sold for $200.00. That might seem reasonable by today's standards. However, in 1910, the average salary for an American was $750.00 a year. That's about $15.00 a week. So a Dictaphone Wax Recorder cost about 13 week's salary for the average person. That would be conservatively be about $6,500 today's standards.

Report Development On The Dictaphone

Watch A Video Of Thomas Edison

An Early Dictaphone Ad

There was competition! To the left is an ad for another model of a dictaphone. To the right is a Thomas Edision promo photo showing off his version of the Dictaphone.

Another Early Ad For The Dictaphone

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