Homepage logo Project Homepage [spacer] Search Collection Browse Collection Project Overview Cylinder History Donate Collections Help Contact Us Links Links [spacer] Special Collections UCSB Libraries Banner

Edison Chinese Cylinders

Edison Chinese Cylinder

An old valet carries a letter / Performer unknown. Edison Records in Chinese: 12769. 1902.

In 1902, Edison sent recordist Walter Miller to San Francisco to record 46 cylinders of Chinese content for sale to Chinese speakers. It is not known if they were also sold in China as well as to the Chinese community in the United States. The records stayed in the catalog for a number of years and included songs, Chinese opera, and, naturally, comic recitations and band music. Many of the pieces were too long to fit on one cylinder and were spread over multiple cylinders, which was an unusual practice for the time period.

Chinese selections in the 1905 Edison catalog of British, European, Canadian, Mexican, and Asiatic records. (Courtesy of Wang Gang, Zhengzhou, PRC.)


Previous: Edison Foreign Releases--Cylindres Edison Moulés Sur Or and Edison Goldguss Walze

Next: Columbia Cylinders


An initiative of the UC Santa Barbara Library • (805) 893-5444 • Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9010. [Envelope] Direct questions or comments about the project or this page to the project staff or visit the help pages.

Featured Cylinder

The Dixie rube - Edison Military Band. (Edison Gold Moulded Record: 9241), [1906].


Cylinder Radio

Listen to a podcast or live stream of operatic cylinders from the collection of William R. Moran on Cylinder Radio

Podcast icon


Facebook icon Like us on Facebook


Keyword Search



Did You Know?
Most early cylinders had a spoken announcement at the beginning with the name of the piece, performer and company. The practice ended around 1909.

Creative Commons License
Copyright and licensing information