Phonograph

Monday at the Museum

Johnson Museum out.jpg

In the continuing saga of exploration hosted by the American Treasure Tour's blog team, we bring you to fascinating destinations within the United States that we encourage you to explore - after you've gotten your fill of our Museum, of course.  We've been told that there are more museums in this great nation than there are McDonald's and Starbucks - combined.  We're still a little skeptical of that, but if it's true, then we should definitely celebrate them and visit as many of them as possible. Because we just need to get out of the house once in a while, especially now that Summer is right around the corner!

Johnson Museum - in.jpg

So, we invite our readers to take a road trip to Dover, Delaware. Dover is one of the smallest state capital cities in the nation - which is only proper since Delaware is one of the smallest states in the nation - but it has a lot of character and charm to it, as well as one of the newest National Parks (First State - worth checking out!) and a museum dedicated to the Victor victrola. We're talking the first phonographs, or record players. Why, you might ask, does Delaware have a Victor Museum, when everyone knows that the Victory Company had their factory in Camden, New Jersey?  Because the man who founded Victor, Eldridge Johnson, grew up in Delaware, of course. The Johnson Museum is a few short blocks from the state house in Dover, and has a truly remarkable collection of these beautiful machines.  Admittedly, it is not the biggest museum you will have ever visited - it may be 20% the size of the Treasure Tour - but they have a lot of amazing machines in there and it is worth the time.  Despite that phonographs were one of the main reasons the automatic music industry closed down in the 1920's....   https://history.delaware.gov/museums/jvm/jvm_main.shtml

The Wurlitzer Family, Part 3 - Wednesday, February 19

Today, we continue our ongoing saga of the Wurlitzer Family, after discussing the patriarch on Monday and eldest son Howard yesterday.  Today, it is middle son Rudolph Henry's turn. Rudolph was born in 1873 in Cincinnati.  His passion, like that of his father and siblings, was in music; however, he concentrated his love on one specific instrument:  the violin.  In fact, Rudolph studied in Berlin, not too far from his ancestral home, and learned both how to play and manufacture the violin.  He established the Wurlitzer Collection of Rare Violins, which included some of the finest names in violin production during its day, the most famous being Stradivarius of which the company possessed close to half the six hundred ever produced at one time or another.

Rudolph never strayed too far from the family business, though, and took over the Wurlitzer Company as its president for five years, between 1927 and 1932, prior to serving as chairman from 1932 until 1942.

QUESTION:

In which city did the Wurlitzer Company have offices?

a)  Cincinnati, Ohio

b)  Denver, Colorado

c)  North Tonawanda, New York

d)  Chicago, Illinois

e)  a, b and d

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

It was a bad day for former Vice President Aaron Burr in 1807.  He had already had a few bad days in his career, including the time when Alexander Hamilton destroyed his political ambitions in 1800 by behind-closed-door finagling to ensure that Thomas Jefferson would become the third President of the United States over him as the lesser of two evils (Hamilton didn't like Burr OR Jefferson, he just liked Burr a little bit less).  Another bad day happened in 1804 when his gun fired true and he killed Hamilton in a duel then charged with murder (he was the only vice president to ever be wanted for murder while he was in office, although he is not the only vice president to shoot a man while in office, thank you Mr. Cheney!).  Today, he was arrested under the orders of Jefferson and held for treason on the charge of trying to incite war between America and Spain with the intention of creating his own nation.  The penalty for treason is death, so Jefferson was playing for high stakes.  Fortunately for Burr, he would be acquitted of the charges, but his reputation was pretty much destroyed.  He left the country for a number of years but, ever the survivor, returned to New York after the heat died down and restarted his law practice.

Today is a great day for music!  Thomas Edison submitted his application for a patent on the phonograph on this day in 1878.  His original invention recorded sound and vibrations on cylinders.  It would take a few years before the technology advanced to larger flat discs, and much much longer before they would move to flash drives.  But you have to start somewhere, and we are grateful Edison took this first step!

BIRTHDAYS:

A special little boy was born to Mr. and Mrs. Frankenheimer on this day in 1930. They named him John, and he would grow up to be a film director.  The movies he made would be considered thought provoking, exciting, and maybe even controversial.  One of his most famous/notorious films was 1962's The Manchurian Candidate, starring Angela Lansbury in one of the finest performances of her long and distinguished career.  It tells the story of a plot to assassinate a presidential candidate, but was not released upon completion, or for a number of years afterwards.  It is unclear whether this was because of contractual problems or the tragic death of John F. Kennedy made it too distasteful for the studio to distribute.  Frankenheimer also directed The Birdman of Alcatraz, Seven Days in May, and most infamously the 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau.  Nobody is perfect!

Another great person the ATT blog would like to celebrate is Lou Christie!  Born today in 1943, this singer is most notable because of the three-octave range of his voice.  His biggest hit was 1966's "Lightnin' Strikes," with its pop tune and his falsetto voice.  Although the peak of his success was during the decade of the Sixties, Christie still shares his talents with the public, having done the concert circuit well into the millennium and even recording a live album in 2004, Greatest Hits From the Bottom Line.  Happy birthday, Lou, and keep on singin'!

QUOTE:

I have gotten to a point in my life where I don't want to have dinner with someone I don't like. - John Frankenheimer

Answer:  e)  Wurlitzer became quite the behemoth in music production during its day and had offices in Cincinnati, North Tonawanda, and Chicago.