Learn more about Emile Berliner
Born Emil Berliner in Hanover, Germany, he emigrated to the United States of America in 1870, where he established himself in Washington, D.C.. After some time working in a livery stable, he became interested in the new audio technology of the telephone and phonograph, and invented an improved telephone transmitter acquired by the Bell Telephone Company, one of the first types of microphone. Berliner worked for Bell Telephone in Boston from 1877 to 1883, when he returned to Washington and established himself as a private researcher.
Emile Berliner became a United States citizen in 1881.
In 1886 Berliner began experimenting with methods of sound recording. He was granted his first patent for what he called the "gramophone" in 1887. The first gramophone recorded using horizontal modulation on a cylinder coated with a low resistance material such as lamp black, subsequently fixed with varnish and then copied by photoengraving on a metal playback cylinder. He then began work on a simplified system to record on to discs, rather than the phonograph cylinders then in use. Within a few years he was marketing his technology to toy companies. However, he hoped to develop his device as more than a mere toy, and in 1895 succeeded in getting a group of businessmen to put up 25,000 United States dollars of capital and incorporated the Berliner Gramophone Company.
A problem with early gramophones was difficulty in having the turntable rotate at a steady speed for playback. Engineer Eldridge R. Johnson helped solve this problem by designing clock-work spring wound motors. In 1901 Berliner and Johnson teamed up to found the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Berliner also invented a new type of loom for mass-production of cloth, acoustic tile, and experimented with an early version of the helicopter said by some accounts to have successfully lifted two men off the ground as early as 1909, although other accounts put the date a decade later. In any case, working with his son Henry Berliner, they demonstrated a working helicopter for the United States Army on July 16, 1922.
Berliner was also active in advocating improvements in public health and sanitation.
Emile Berliner died of a heart attack at the age of 78.
 By Berliner
- Conclusions, 1902, Kaufman Publishing Co.
- The Milk Question and Mortality Among Children Here and in Germany: An Observation, 1904, The Society for Prevention of Sickness
- Some Neglected Essentials in the Fight against Consumption, 1907, The Society for Prevention of Sickness
- A Study Towards the Solution of Industrial Problems in the New Zionist Commonwealth, 1919, N. Peters
- Frederic William Wile, Emile Berliner Maker of the Microphone, 1974, Ayer Company, ISBN 0-405-06062-9
 External links
- Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry at the Library of Congress including audio archive
- Emile Berliner: Inventor of the Gramophone (Library of Congress)
- Berliner timeline and patent list
- Emile Berliner and the Gramophone (University of San Diego)
- Berliner's 1887 Challenge to the industry (see item 11)
- The Berliner helicopters at the National Air and Space Museum
- Berliner in the Inventor's Hall of Fame
- Illustrated Berliner page
Patent images in TIFF format
- U.S. Patent 0199,141 Telephone (induction coils), filed October 1877, issued January 1878
- U.S. Patent 0222,652 Telephone (carbon diaphragm microphone), filed August 1879, issued December 1879
- U.S. Patent 0224,573 Microphone (loose carbon rod), filed September 1879, issued February 1880
- U.S. Patent 0225,790 Microphone (spring carbon rod), filed Nov 1879, issued March 1880
- UK Patent 15232 filed November 8, 1887
- U.S. Patent 0372,786 Gramophone (horizontal recording), original filed May 1887, refiled September 1887, issued November 8, 1887
- U.S. Patent 0382,790 Process of Producing Records of Sound (recorded on a thin wax coating over metal or glass surface, subsequently chemically etched), filed March 1888, issued May 1888
- U.S. Patent 0463,569 Combined Telegraph and Telephone (microphone), filed June 1877, issued November 1891
- U.S. Patent 0548,623 Sound Record and Method of Making Same (duplicate copies of flat, zinc disks by electroplating), filed March 1893, issued October 1895
- U.S. Patent 0564,586 Gramophone (recorded on underside of flat, transparent disk), filed November 7 1887, issued July 1896de:Emil Berliner