Autophone 1910s - 1920's Autophone (L'Autophon)

The Autophone (not to be confused with the US made cylinder Autophone) were built to be cost-effective (ie. cheaply). Originally recycled Edison coin-op cabinets (Windsor, Eclipse, etc) were used to house the fitted disc mechanism. These were found around Paris in the popular auditoriums of the main boulevards and in train stations during the teens and 1920's. Reports state that these were still in use as late as the 1940's in parts of Paris. It is thought that Pathe was involved in the manufacture of these machines though no definite links have been found. There are no markings other than the patent information and no serial numbers. It is likely that Pathe was contracted to build the mechanism. Nearly every Autophone has a Pathe reproducer. Notice that the reproducer is setup for laterally recorded records (as are all of the Autophones I have located). That's odd for Pathe - would have thought hill and dale records for sure. Changing needles in the coin-op parlor may have been a full-time job.

It is thought that between 10 and 20 Autophones remain today worldwide. Three have been located in North America including this machine (which was purchased in The Netherlands in 2003).

Autophone (L'Autophon)

A view of the mechanism.

Autophone mechanism
Autophone motor Autophone (L'Autophon)

The Autophone's motor.

Autophone (L'Autophon)

A view of the mechanism with turntable.

Autophone tt
Autophone parlor Typical Autophone parlor of the 1910-1930 time period.

Nearly 25 Autophones are shown in this French, period etching.

Early Autophone shown in recycled Edison cabinet.

French, period etching.

Autophone palace