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MMD > Archives > August 1998 > 1998.08.27 > 12Prev  Next

Making Fiber Phonograph Needles
By Bruce Clark

Several years ago, we had some neighbors who told a story about their
father making fiber needles for phonographs.

The family were very clever and industrious craftsman, including the
two daughters. In 1901 the father started a woodworking company which
produced "Cayuga League" baseball bats, and hardwood handles for tools.
They had no electricity and depended upon a steam engine to power their

According to their elderly daughter, who remembers being an assistant
to her father, he also made fiber needles for phonographs.  These were
made from bamboo.  The bamboo was cut lengthwise, in a triangular
strips, and then simmered in paraffin wax.  After this process, the
"needles" were cut in small strips, and inserted in a small mechanical
sharpener, which cut the ends on a slant and produced a sharp point.
Before this woman passed on, she gave me this little cutting device,
which I still have.

According to these old timers, the bamboo needles produced a mellow
soft tone, and were supposed to cause less wear on the records.

Bruce Clark

(Message sent Thu 27 Aug 1998, 11:35:27 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Fiber, Making, Needles, Phonograph

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