One of America’s favorite inventors helped set a standard for home entertainment and the entire future of musical appreciation. As the Smithsonian Magazine observed, Thomas Edison’s 1877 invention of the phonograph changed music forever.
This week in 1910 the Forum newspaper stacked four separate advertisements on top of one another to entice readers to experience the joy of introducing a phonograph into their homes. Phonographs were clearly becoming the rage.
“Why Go Elsewhere?” asked the first ad, "when the only complete stock of EDISON RECORDS in all the state is at your disposal here! Once a customer-always a customer. We guarantee to fill all orders complete. Come in and have your favorite selections played! Peterson’s Music Store, 118 Broadway, Fargo, ND."
The next ad teased:
“Pioneer Edison Phonograph Dealers. Carrying not only the largest stock of records but most complete. Including, besides the American selections, all the Swedish, Norwegian and Danish, and also Grand Concert. A call will convince you! A free concert at any time! A full line of phonographs. J.E. Johnson Cycle Supply House, 216 Broadway, Fargo, N.D."
The third featured a picture of an Edison music machine with the headline:
"An Edison Phonograph will surprise you! The first time you hear it, you will be surprised at its goodness. Everybody is! Particularly the first time you hear the Edison Phonograph play an Amberol Record. People who have heard phonographs talked about, or who have heard them at a distance on the street, or who have heard some other make of sound-reproducing machines, do not realize the remarkable goodness of the Edison Phonograph. This is partly due to the wonderful sapphire point which does not scratch or make any sound, and partly due to the wonderful Amberol Records which are so smooth and clear that they can produce the fine violin melody with all its natural sweetness. This is the same instrument which plays and sings those musical and comedy songs which everybody whistles.”
The ad ends with this flourish:
“IS THERE ANY REASON WHY YOU SHOULD NOT BUY ONE?”
The final ad in the series comes from Fargo’s Lugar Furniture Company:
“Edison Records and Phonographs, Free concerts Daily in our Phonograph Department! Easy monthly payments.”
Such were the times this week in the year 1910.
Dakota Datebook by Steve Stark
The Fargo Forum and Daily Republican, Evening addition, March 10, 1910.
Smithsonian Magazine, January 2016