Clockmaker Henri Lioret first started making phonographs in 1893. (Please see the Lioret "Le Merveilleux" on another page for more information on his early work). In 1895 he introduced this "Lioretgraph No. 2", which is more substantial than his early models. The motor is, not surprisingly, much more reminiscent of a finely-crafted clock than the rugged phonograph motors found in conventional phonographs. At a time when Edison and Columbia had only recently begun selling spring-wound phonographs playing fragile brown wax cylinders which required listening tubes to hear clearly, Lioret was selling clockwork phonographs with loud-playing, unbreakable celluloid records. The records themselves were only 1" to 1-5/8" wide, with one to two minutes playing time. (Later he produced longer cylinders which played for four minutes.) Curiously enough Lioret's reproducer was nowhere near as sophisticated as his motor or records. Constructed of cardboard, with a simple celluloid horn pointing upwards, the sound box was relatively simple but quite effective and loud for its time. (A later version of the No. 2 used a more conventional horn mounted to a wooden baseboard.) Produced only in very limited numbers, few have survived and all Lioret phonographs are extremely rare today.
The Lioret No. 2 was sold with a special carrying box with compartments for records and supplies. The small bottle contains oil to lubricate the surface of the records prior to playing. Some Lioret boxes include instructions to use olive oil! Lioret suppled a fine motor oil for the purpose. This box is made of cardboard with simulated leather covering and "Phonographe Lioret" printed in gold on the top. (Some of Lioret's machines were sold in wooden carrying boxes.)
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