Don't write-record it on the Voice-O-Graph

The Voice-o-Graph was produced by Mutoscope, the company responsible for flip book peepshow machines on every midway and in every sin palace. Each customer inserted their coins, chose the speed (45 rpm or 78 rpm) and had five minutes to say whatever they liked.They then waited for their own 6" disc to vend right out of the machine. The mailing envelope, which pre-figures the sleeves we get from Netflix, was an additional 5 cents. This example features "Dane + Myself Singing Comming (sic) around the mountain." I have a few other discs which include "Talking about Seaside Beach" "The Penny Arcade" "Little David" and "Spooky Giggling." The machine even warned you when ten seconds was left (I guess so you could cram in the last verse or slur your phone number) The song here is one of those catchy, cheerful child's songs based on was printed in Carl Sandburg's 1927 "The American Songbag" but was based on "When the Chariot Comes", a negro spiritual. An odd song to sing at the seashore, but it did allow some voice and response, and that does make sense.

Voice-O-Graph 6" disc sound recording c. 1955 Collection Jim Linderman


  1. My mom and I made one of these at some point in my rememberable toddlerhood. I think we sang, I know I wasn't especially cooperative. I also just had a same period flashback of standing on an x-ray machine to see the bones in my feet at a shoe store. Is that possible?

  2. Yes the Xray machine for looking @ the bones in your feet was real.They removed them from service due to the radiation from the device.