Dieses Gerät, das aussieht wie einem “modernen” Steam-Punk Film entnommen, ist tatsächlich von 1910. Es ist ein mit Luftdruck verstärktes Grammophon für Kinovorstellungen, das wohl extrem laut war. Zusätzlich konnten Schellackplatten synchron zum Film abgespielt werden, durch zwei parallele Systeme auch so lang, wie der Film dauerte.
THE GAUMONT CHRONOPHONE SYSTEM: 1910
In 1903 French engineer Leon Gaumont was granted patents for loudspeaker systems to go with his sound on disc talking films, which used one of Berliner’s Gramophones.
In 1910 Gaumont demonstrated his Chronophone system, which synchronised sound and film, at the Gaumont Palace in Paris. The compressed-air amplifier, whiuch he called the Eglephone, was just a part of the whole system. The volume was enough for an audience of 4000. Initially the longest moving picture that could be made with synchronised sound was only 200ft, due to the limited playing time of the Gramophone record. (Projection was at 16 frames per second) Gaumont surmounted this problem by having two gramophone platters; a deft operator could switch between them to give a more or less continuous soundtrack.
Note the twin gramophones, driven from a common electric motor between them. An air hose goes to each valvebox from the control valve just under the air pressure gauge; I suspect that this control valve allowed the operator to crossfade between the two gramophones. DJ in the house!
Below this, there is a light-coloured metal manifold which connects the the gramophone output pipes to the two horns. Quite how the record arms are pivoted so they can follow the track on the disc is a bit unclear, but there appears to be some sort of ball joint where they enter the manifold.
Ausstellungstück im CNAM, das Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris. Foto: Douglas Self.