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Lot #165
Thomas Edison

MUSIC TO HIS EARS: EDISON issues himself 159 shares in his own phonograph company

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MUSIC TO HIS EARS: EDISON issues himself 159 shares in his own phonograph company

Engraved DS, signed “Thomas A. Edison,” one page both sides, 10.25 x 5.75, April 17, 1904. A certificate for 159 shares in the Edison Phonograph Works, issued to Edison himself and signed by him as the company’s president. The reverse bears a transfer for five shares to John A. Schermerhom, signed again with Edison’s “umbrella” signature. The Edison Phonograph Works was formed in 1888, approximately ten years after Edison received his patent on the invention. Though it became most closely associated with the entertainment industry, Edison initially touted the machine’s utility as an office dictation machine. At the time the certificate was issued, several of Edison’s competitors were developing electrically amplified, high fidelity phonographs. Edison eventually lost interest in the phonograph company, partly as a result of his deteriorating hearing, and went so far as to refuse to allow his sons to waste time and money on further development. The first half of the 1920s saw falling demand for phonographs, in tandem with the growing popularity of radio, and Edison merged his phonograph company into Thomas A. Edison, Inc. Sales continued to dwindle for the remainder of the decade, and the stock market crash of 1929 delivered the final blow, the Edison company ceasing phonograph production shortly thereafter. Four punch holes affecting signature on front, two vertical folds, and some light edge toning, otherwise fine condition. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #332 - Ended April 16, 2008