COLUMBIA GRAPHOPHONE TYPE N - 'BIJOU' - 1895

This is the phonograph that effectively launched mass-market home entertainment in the United States. Prior to the release of the Columbia Type N 'Bijou' in late 1895, phonographs like the Edison Class M and Columbia Type K were sold for home use, but their lofty prices limited sales to the wealthy. The 1894 Columbia Type G was the first true mass-market machine, but it was priced at $75. The Type N, priced at $40, brought the phonograph into the reach of the vast middle class for the first time. (Though seemingly cheap by today's standards, $40 was still equivalent to a month's salary for most workers of the era -- a significant investment, but an attainable one.) The relatively inexpensive Type N ultimately provoked a price war with Edison, who introduced the $40 "Home" model in 1896, followed by the $25 "Standard" two years later. Columbia countered in late 1896 with the $25 Type A, and eventually won the battle with the $5 Type Q in 1898. Phonographs finally could be found in modest homes, not just those of the elite.

This example has an adapter to accommodate four listening tubes, very similar to the original catalog image below with a 3-tube adapter. These multiple-tube adapters are very scarce today.

After the Type A rendered the N obsolete, Columbia recycled leftover Type N motors by mating them to new Type A topworks and selling them as Type AN. Under 6,000 Type N Graphophones were produced in 1895-1896, and today it is one of the most sought-after of all the 1890's phonographs.

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