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Portable record player, Mikiphone, 1924
Gebrüder Vadasz
Portable record player, Mikiphone,
Gebrüder Vadasz,

Portable record player, Mikiphone,
1924

Gebrüder Vadàsz
*1037
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Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • Mikiphone Gebrüder Vadasz
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Listen to the text
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The company Paillard, which specialized in manufacturing precision parts, developed the first pocket gramophone in the world. Unlike today’s portable MP3 players, the compact tinned device for gramophone records had to be tediously assembled before use.

After the revolutionary invention of the gramophone and the records to go with it, manufacturers focused on the miniaturization of music players. By the mid-twenties, there was already a portable gramophone so small that it could be taken along on a picnic. Still not satisfied, the successful precision industry in the Jura Mountains, in the canton of Vaud—which exported fully assembled gramophones and components in series of hundreds of thousands—strove to develop devices that could be transported in a briefcase or even a trouser pocket. Thorens in Sainte-Croix produced a case with a crackle-painted finish, measuring 5 by 26.6 by 11.5 centimeters, which held the tone arm, pickup cartridge, speakers, and crank. The Paillard company, located in the same town and run by relatives, came out with a rival to this miniature gramophone in the form of the much more compact Mikiphone, which was housed in a hand-size nickel-plated box. The “first pocket gramophone in the world,” fabricated in a series of 180,000 after a patent belonging to the Hungarian Vadàsz brothers, required cumbersome assembly before use. The recording head and a two-piece Bakelite resonator had to be connected to the foldout tone arm before the shellac disc could be placed on the turntable’s central pin. This precision engineering feat was awarded first prize at an international music exhibition in Geneva in 1927. Le Corbusier went so far as to tout the Mikiphone in 1926 as a “prime demonstration of the spirit of a machine age.” (Arthur Rüegg)

Reiseplattenspieler, Mikiphone, Patent 1924
Entwurf: Gebrüder Vadàsz
Herstellung: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Material/Technik: Messing, vernickelt; Phenoplast (Aufsatz)
4.5 × 11.5 cm (Dose geschlossen)
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK
Literatureo

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich (Hg.), 100 Jahre Schweizer Design, Zürich 2014, S. 66.

Lotte Schilder Bär, «Mechanische Objekte – Blickpunkte der Schweizer Präzisionsindustrie», in: Rüegg, Arthur / Tropeano, Ruggero (Hg.), Wege zur «Guten Form». Neun Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schweizer Produktgestaltung, Basel / Boston / Berlin 1995, S. 26–31.

Image creditso

Reiseplattenspieler, Mikiphone, Patent 1924, Herstellung: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Reiseplattenspieler Mikiphone in geschlossenem Zustand, 1924, Herstellung: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Reiseplattenspieler Mikiphone in betriebsbereitem Zustand, 1924, Herstellung: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Reiseplattenspieler Mikiphone mit Schallplatte, 1924, Herstellung: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Gebrauchsanweisung zum Reiseplattenspieler Mikiphone, um 1924, Auftrag: Paillard S.A., Yverdon / Ste-Croix, CH
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Exhibition texto
Audio

Portable music players were already a coveted item around 1920, when the travel record player Mikiphone was invented in Switzerland. With new audio media such as the cassette, Minidisc, and CD, the design of the playback devices changed. The digital MP3 technology marked a major advance in miniaturization, with precision mechanics thereafter playing only a minor role. Telephones have also changed through digitalization, with landline and mobile phones taking on a similar appearance.