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Les plus vieux
disques publiés :
Le catalogue en ligne des disques
Berliner Gramophone de 12,5 cm

On dit ordinairement que le premier disque de Emile Berliner (1851-1929) commercialisé a été pressé en octobre 1894 aux Etats-Unis. C'était alors un disque de 17,5cm de diamètre (7 pouces). Mais Berliner, l'inventeur du disque, avait toutefois fait des disques bien avant, et c'est un fabricant de jouets (Kämmer & Reinhardt à Waltershausen, en Thuringe) qui a diffusé le tout premier Gramophone : un jouet sans ressort ni moteur, actionné en permanance à la main, pavillon en carton.

Cet appareil commercialisé de 1889 à 1892, entraînait des disques de 5 pouces de diamètre (12,5 cm environ) à 100-150 tours/minute, selon le disque. Ces disques ne sont pas en gomme laque comme plus tard, mais en gutta-percha : une gomme végétale rigide, compressée et vulcanisée à partir de la sève de différents arbres tropicaux, et en particulier de l'espèce Palaquium gutta. Ils sont reproduits à partir de matrices métalliques. Les disques, tout comme le Gramophone, portent la mention "E. Berliner Grammophon D.R.P. [Deutsches Reichspatent (brevet allemand)] 45048". Le papier collé sur la face arrière de chaque disque contient le titre ou le texte enregistré ainsi que la mention de deux brevets américains de Berliner : Nov 1887, May 1888. Ils constituent véritablement les plus anciens disques au monde. La voix qui chante ou déclame, a cappella sur la plupart de ces disques est celle de Emile Berliner. Ce n'est pas une certitude, mais c'est ce qui est ordinairement admis, et cela semble logique. En outre, il s'agit bien d'une voix avec un accent allemand. La liste présentée ci-dessous correspond au tout premier catalogue de disques au monde.

Access to the list
Contributors, credits and related sources

The earliest disc records
ever released :
The five inch Berliner Gramophone records
online catalogue

It is commonly said that the first Berliner Gramophone record to be offered on the market was pressed in the USA in October 1894. It was a seven inch record. But in fact Emile Berliner (1851-1929), inventor of the gramophone record, had made and sold records long before that date. It is a German toy maker (Kämmer & Reinhardt in Waltershausen, Thuringen) who made and marketed the very first Berliner Gramophone which was a toy with a cardboard horn, hand operated with a crank, but with no spring or motor.

This device put on the market from 1889 to 1892, rotated five inch records (12,5 cm) at 100-150 revolutions per minute. These records are not made of shellac like records made later, but of gutta-percha : an inelastic compressed and vulcanized natural latex or rubber isolated from the sap of several species of tropical tree, but mainly from Palaquium gutta. They are pressed from metallic matrixes. Both records and machines bear the mention "E. Berliner Grammophon D.R.P. [Deutsches Reichspatent] 45048". The label on the reverse side of each record contains the title or the recorded text and the mention of two of Berliner's US patents : Nov 1887, May 1888. They are indeed the oldest records in the world. The voice heard of most of these records, singing or talking with no instrumental accompaniment, is Emile Berliner's own voice. This is commonly admitted and it is indeed a voice - always the same on different records - with an audible German accent. The above list represents the earliest disc record catalogue in the world.


 

The Berliner 12.5 cm Records online Catalogue - le catalogue en ligne des disques Berliner 5 pouces

Catalogue number

Title

Type

Available documents
(image text and sound)

1

Vater unser

speech

 

2

Deutsche Sprichwőrter

speech

 

3

Struwelpeter

?

 

4

Glocke, I. Teil [also 204]

speech

 

5

Glocke, II. Teil [also 205]

speech

 

6

 

 

 

7

Der Kampf mit dem Drachen [also 207]

speech

 

8

Der Handschuh

speech

 

9

Maria Stuart

speech

 

10

Daumenlutscher

speech

 

11

Suppenkaspar

speech

 

12

Zahlen, Tage, Monate sprich.

speech

 

[...]

 

 

 

16

A little ship was on the sea

speech

17

Proverbs

speech

 

18

Father William

speech

 

[...]

 

 

 

20

Old King Cole

speech

[...]

 

 

 

23

Manfred

speech

 

24

Proverbs

speech

25

Lords Prayer

speech

26

Twinkle, twinkle little star

speech

27

Thou knowest my pretty damsel - new online

speech

28

Morning hymn

speech

29

Jack and Jill - Tom,Tom, the Piper's son

speech

30

Mary had a little lamb

speech

 

31

A healthy boy was Alfred Jones

speech

32

Tom,Tom, the Piper's son

speech

 

33

Simple Simon

speech

 

34

My name is the ‘Gramophone’

speech

 

35

Cock Robin

speech

36

Sing a song of sixpence

speech

37

Old Mother Hubbard

speech

38

Nursery rhymes

speech

 

39

English numbers and days

speech

40

We don’t want to fight

song

40 Vinyl pressing for a commemorative publication in 1998

song

41

For you, my darling

song

42

Auld lang syne

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

44

My grandfather’s clock

speech

45

Thierstimmen - Voix d'animaux - Farmyard imitations

vocal

46

A warrior bold

song [?]

 

47

Yankee doodle

song [?]

 

48

Rule Britannia

song

49

Hark the herald…

song

 

50

Blue bells of Scotland

song

51

Sweet by and by

song[?]

52

Home sweet home

song

53

Ta ra ra boom-de-ay

song

54

Knock’d ‘em in the old Kent Road

song

55

God save the Queen

song

56

Long, long ago

song

57

Hi Jerry Ho

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

59

Tit-Willow [Mikado]

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

62

Mikado, the flowers that bloom

song

[...]

 

 

 

65

Whist! The Bogie Man

song

[...]

 

 

 

67

God bless the prince of Wales

song

 

68

Tom, he was a piper’s son

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

German catalogue, 51 to c.131

 

 

 

 

 

 

51

Gaudeamus [also 1251]

song

 

52

In einem Kűhlen Grunde

song

 

53

Wacht am Rhein

song

 

54

Rheinlied

song

 

55

Loreley

song

 

56

Treue Lieben

song

 

57

Freies Leben

song

 

58

Lützows Jagd

song

 

59

O, schöne Zeit

song

 

60

Österreichische Hymne [also 260]

song

 

61

Les Cloches de Corneville

song

 

62

500,000 Teufel

song

 

63

Preussenlied

song

 

64

Soldatenlied

song

65

Andreas Hofer

song

 

66

Kupferschmied

song

 

67

So wie du

song

67

unid. recitation

 

 

68

Kanapee-Lied

song

 

69

Du Schwert an meiner Linken

song

 

70a

Wirthshauslied u. Ach du lieber Augustin

song

 

70b

Wirthshauslied u. Lott is todt

song

 

71

Heil Dir im Siegerkranz

song

 

72

Deutschland über alles [also 272]

song

 

73

Ach wie ist’s möglich dann

song

 

74

Wenn ich einmal der Herrgott wär

?

 

75

Gruss aus Kiel [also 375]

instr. quintet

 

76

Alte Dessauer [also 376]

instr. quintet

 

77

Hohenfriedberger [also 377]

instr. quintet

78

Gasparone

instr. quintet

[...]

 

 

 

80

Deutschland

instr. quintet

 

81

Zu Augsburg

instr. quintet

 

82

Marsch [also 382?]

instr. quintet

 

83

Loreley [also 383]

instr. quintet

 

84

Hohenfriedberger mit Trommelbegleitung [also 384]

iq

 

[...]

 

 

 

88

God save the Queen [also 388] - New online

instr. quintet

[...]

 

 

 

99

God save the Queen

‘spielt’

 

100

Stille Nacht [also 584] - New online

trumpet quartet

101

Jägerlied [Der Freischütz]

trumpet quartet

 

102

Marsch No. 1

trumpet quartet

 

[...]

 

 

 

104

Loreley [also 140,or 240]

song [choral]

[...]

 

 

106

unid. march

instr.?

 

107

Jagdruf der Diana

trumpet quartet

 

[...]

 

 

 

111

Deutschland

trumpet solo

 

112

The Mail

trumpet solo

 

113

Bugle calls

bugle [?]

 

114

Morgen fort

?

 

[...]

 

 

 

116

Drinking song [Im tiefen Keller]

trombone solo

[...]

 

 

 

120

Boccaccio

banjo duet

 

120

Boccaccio

piano

121

Bierwalzer [also P 476]

piano

122

Prophet- march

piano

 

[...]

 

 

 

124

Blue Danube

piano

 

[...]

 

 

 

128

Variations

piano

 

129

Lohengrin

piano

 

130

Variations

clarinet

131

Der Freischütz [Weber]

?

[...]

     

140

Loreley [also 104 and 240]

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

152

Le corbeau et le renard

speech

[...]

     

160

Je regardais en l'air [les Cloches de Corneville]

song

161

La Marseillaise - New online

song

[...]

     

164

Le Père la Victoire

song

 

165

La Boiteuse

song

[...]

     

204

Glocke I. Teil

speech

 

205

Glocke II. Teil

speech

 

[...]

     
218
Es lächelt der See, es ladet zum Bade
speech
 
       

225

Fra Diavolo [Auber] - New online

song

[...]

     

227

Lena la bella Lena

speech

[...]

     
240 Loreley [104/240]    

241

Lobe den Herren

song

 

[...]

     

244

Schwertlied [Weber]

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

246

Hoch [Abt]

song

 

[...]

     

251

Gaudeamus [1251 in Eichstätt list]

song

 

[...]

     

272

Deutschland über alles

song

 

[...]

     

275

Deutsches Vaterland

song

 

[...]

     

278

Crambambuli - New online

song

[...]

 

 

 

280

Gesänge

song

 

[...]

     

284

‘appears commercial’

?

 

285

ditto

?

 

[...]

 

 

 

287

ditto

?

 

288

ditto

?

 

[...]

     

291

Hobellied [Kreutzer]

song

 

292

Was blasen die Trompeten?

non-musical [!]

 

[...]

     

303

Czarenlied [Lortzing]

song

 

304

Auch ich war ein Jüngling

song

 

[...]

 

 

 

306

unid. recitation

 

 

[...]

     

377

Hohenfriedberger - [also 77]

instr. quintet

[...]

     

382

Radetzky-Marsch [J Strauss]

instr. quintet

 

383

Loreley

instr. quintet

 

384

Hohenfriedberger Marsch

instr. quintet

 

[...]

     

388

God save the Queen

instr. quintet

 

[...]

 

 

 

401

Es ist bestimmt [Mendelssohn]

instr. quin.

 

402

 

 

 

403

Jäger’s Abschied

instr. quin.

 

[...]

 

 

 

408

Ungarischer Tanz Nr. 6 [Brahms]

instr. quintet

 
[...]
     
467
Post - New online
piston solo
[...]
     
P 476
Bierwalzer [also 121]
piano solo

[...]

 

 

 

501

El Credo

speech

[...]

 

 

 

503

Numeros, Dias, Meses

speech

[...]

 

 

 

509

Versos y Canto

speech - song

[...]

 

 

 

511

Me gustan todas - Aroro mi nena [printed 211 on paper label]

song

[...]

 

 

 

530

Numeri, la Settimana, le Mesi, etc.

speech

531

I Due Ladri e l'Asino

speech

532
La Rondinella
speech

[...]

 

 

 
584
Stille Nacht [also 100]
instr. quartet
[...]
     

600

Old-fashioned street organ

instr.

 

[...]

 

 

 

606

Concert piece

instr. quintet [?]

 

[...]

 

 

 

609

Mikado [?]

instr. quintet [?]

 

[...]

 

 

 

640

Ach, wie ist’s möglich

instr. duet

[...]

 

 

 

650

Marsch, Trommel

drum solo

 

[...]

 

 

 

810

Vater unser [Böhmisch]

speech [?]

 

[...]

 

 

 

852

unid. recitation

 

 

[...]

 

 

 

860

unid. male vocal

 

 

 

A gutta percha blade - échantillon de gutta percha

 

 

Contributors and credits (to be completed)

A special tribute is due to Paul Cleary and George Taylor who provided the core of the list.
Other contributors are Peter Adamson, Jalal Aro, Ernie Bayley, Paolo Brenni, Tim Brooks, Henri Chamoux, Dominic Combe, Michael E. Gunrem, Allen Koenigsberg, Stephan Puille, Dieter Schulze, Horst Wahl, James Wilkins and Christian Zwarg.

Join the contributors.
As a private collector or institution, if you are the happy owner of (a) 5 inch Berliner record(s) you can give your own contribution.

The main rules are as follows :
We need a good wav file of the complete recording, at least 44,1KHz at 16bits, and a flat scan jpg image of each side of the disc with a blue or grey color paper as background. Resolution of the scan should be at least 600 dpi for a future paper publication of some details of the discs (3070x3070 pixels for a 13 cm square which comes roughly to a file of 6Mo or 7Mo). Otherwise you are welcome with your records to come and visit the Archeophone home near Paris, in order to make first quality transfers of your own 5 inch records. These precious records can also be shipped in many secured ways on your convenience.

Mp3s made upon your wav file(s) will not be audible entirely on the site, unless you wish to share it entirely.
Only 30 to 40 seconds will be audible for each record online (a complete track takes 1 minute typically).
Medium size photos only are displayed.
All contributors will receive a free copy of the final publication (probably an illustrated book with audio CD) containing all known tracks in high quality audio wav files and with high quality photos.
All contributors have their name on the webpage (not if not desired). They are not identified individually as owners of any record in particular (they are if desired).
Contributors can publish high definition photos and complete tracks of their own Berliner records if desired.

For now, the several records shown here are coming from 8 different private and public collections in Europe and the USA.

Articles

Adamson, Peter. "12.5 cm Berliner Discs." Talking Machine Review, No 36, October 1975.
Adamson, Peter. "The First London Disc Recordings." Hillandale News, No. 207, December 1995, pp. 411-422.
Cleary, Paul and Taylor, George. " 12.5 cm/5-inch Berliner discography progress report" For the record - City of London Phonograph and Gramophone Society Limited, No. 8, Winter 2003/4, pp. 441-442.
Gunrem, Michael E. Die Allerersten Schallplatten der Welt. Schalltrichter, Nr. 32, April 2008.
History Department at the University of San Diego, "The Early Gramophone", [notes revised by Steven Schoenherr, 2005].
Puille, Stephan "Emile Berliner in Deutschland, 1889-1890" (Vortrag zur Jahrestagung der IASA-Ländergruppe Deutschland/Deutschschweiz e. V., Potsdam 2003), www.iasa-online.de/files/2003_Berliner.pdf.

 

Some sources and links

Emile Berliner online exhibit on the Library of Congress's American Memory page
Emile Berliner a rich biography from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Istituto Tecnico Toscano, Firenze
Parkins and Gotto commercial list
Universitätsbibliothek der Katholischen Universität Eichstätt (special collections)
The Virtual Gramophone
Tainter lateral-cut electroplated record - this phonogram was made nov 8th 1881

---

[...] It was Bill Golden who asked me one day in 1891, if I would go with him to see a German who had started experimenting with a flat-disc talking machine record and make some trials. We found Emile Berliner in his laboratory, moving up and down in his small studio buzzing on a diaphragm, "Hello, hello!" and in his guttural, broken English, "Tvinkle, tvinkle little star, how I vonder vot you are". I was introduced to the inventor and invited to witness the making of the first gramophone record. Berliner placed a muzzle over Golden’s mouth and connected this up by a rubber hose to a diaphragm. I was at piano, the sounding box of which was also boxed up and connected to the diaphragm by a hose resembling an elephant’s trunk. He asked, "Are you ready?" and upon our answering yes, he began to crank like a barrel organ, and said, "Go." The song finished and Berliner stopped cranking. He took from the machine a bright zinc disc and plunged it into an acid bath for few minutes. Then taking it out of the acid, he washed and cleaned the disc.

Placing this disc on a reproducing machine, also operated by hand like a coffee grinder, he played back the resulting record from the etched groove. To our astonished ears came Billy Golden’s voice. He explained to us how this method was superior to the phonograph. I was spellbound by the beautiful round tone of the flat gramophone disc. Before leaving, I exacted a promise from Berliner that he would let me work for him when his machine was ready for development. [...]

From F.W. Gaisberg, Music on Record, Northumberland Press, UK (1947)