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Emile Berliner
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Inventor
    (May 20, 1851-August 3, 1929)
    Born in Hanover, Germany
    Birth name was Emil Berliner
    Became a US citizen (1881)
    Best know invention was the phonograph record (1887)
    Founded the Berliner Gramophone Company (1895)
    Also invented an improved telephone receiver (1877), a radial aircraft engine (1908) and acoustic tiles (1925)
    He emigrated to the US to avoid being drafted for the Franco-Prussian War (1870).
    He added an ‘e’ to his first name to make it sound less German. (Apparently, changing his last name so it no longer evoked the Prussian capital never occurred to him.)
    His first record players were hand cranked, making it difficult to play the record at a steady speed.
    As the result of a lawsuit by one of the investors in Berliner Gramophone, he ended up legally barred from selling his invention in the US (1900).
    He suffered a nervous breakdown (1914).
    He had to drop out of school at fourteen to help support his ten siblings.
    He built his first invention, an improved power loom, in his teens.
    His disc records were easier to mass produce and boasted better sound than Edison’s cylinders.
    He was the first record manufacturer to sign big-name stars like Enrico Caruso to recording contracts.
    He was praised by Herbert Hoover as ‘an inventive genius.’

Credit: C. Fishel


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