COLUMBIA GRAPHOPHONE TYPE N - 'BIJOU'

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 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 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. (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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