How does the Edison Talking Doll work?
Turning a crank on the shaft that protrudes from the doll's back rotates a cylinder phonograph record, hidden in the torso of the doll. A stylus traces the modulated groove cut in the record and mechanically transmits corresponding vibrations to a diaphragm, which converts the vibration to varying air pressures, to be heard as reproduced sound.
At the end of playback, the user may shift a lever (adjacent to the crank shaft), releasing a compressed spring that returns the stylus to the start position, ready for another play.
How is the phonograph mounted in the doll?
Two machine screws hold the phonograph mechanism to the formed-metal "back" of the doll.
Could the doll owner change the record?
No. The commercial Edison Talking Doll was not designed to facilitate exchange of records by the end user. Replacing the original cylinder requires extensive disassembly and reassembly of the doll and mechanism—a task beyond the mechanical ability and patience of the typical toy purchaser.
Last updated: April 25, 2015