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In reply to a query about adjustable pitch control, Brian Vita writes:

> Didn't the bird's beaks get dull?  Just how long ago do you think this was?
> Sometime around the Flintstones? The Technic turntables did have pitch
> controls *and* even timing marks on the perimeter of the platter. It was a
> real bitch cueing up those wax cylinders though... ;-)
Indeed.  Mixmaster Tom (Edison) actually made adjustable pitch a
standard feature on his earliest cylinder players--and they were direct
drive, too.  You turned a handle which turned the drum upon which the
cylinder was mounted.  No birds or squirrels involved.  This was before
tinfoil gave way to wax.

Even after spring-wound drives and disc records became the norm on
phonographs, adjustable pitch was an important feature as speeds weren't
standardized at 78.26 r.p.m.'s until the mid-1920's.  Many Victors were
recorded at 76.59 while Columbia favored 80.  From a 1915 record
sleeve:  "Columbia records are uniformly recorded at a speed of 80
revolutions per minute.  We cannot too strongly impress upon our patrons
the fact that to obtain the best results in reproduction, the instrument
upon which the record is being played should be running at exactly that
speed.  The most reliable means of insuring this is to pin a small piece
of white paper on the turntable of the instrument.  Then, using the
second hand of your watch as a guide, regulate the machine so that the
turntable makes 20 revolutions to 15 seconds.  The revolutions may
easily be counted by keeping track of the paper on the turntable."  Pity
the anal retentive DJ in the Flintstones era.