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Teaching Activities--Visual Evidence


Photo 6: A phonograph/kinetoscope parlor in San Francisco, 1895.

[Photo 6] with link to higher quality photo.
(Photo: Edison National Historic Site)

The nickelodeon machines on the left were coin operated phonographs. Patrons could deposit a nickel and then listen to an Edison phonograph record through the listening tubes that can be seen hanging from the machines. The kinetoscopes were also coin operated and were used to watch early Edison motion pictures. After depositing a nickel, the patron viewed a 20-second- to one-minute-long movie through a viewing slit in the top of the box. A visit to a phonograph and kinetoscope parlor was probably the first opportunity that many people had to hear recorded music or see moving images of people.

1. Why do you suppose these machines were all together in one place rather than in private homes?

2. How do you think people responded to these novelties?

3. What later inventions can you think of that might have affected people in the same way?

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