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Cylinder recordings, the first commercially produced sound recordings, are a snapshot of musical and popular culture in the decades around the turn of the 20th century. They have long held the fascination of collectors and have presented challenges for playback and preservation by archives and collectors alike.

With funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the UCSB Libraries have created a digital collection of over 10,000 cylinder recordings held by the Department of Special Collections. In an effort to bring these recordings to a wider audience, they can be freely downloaded or streamed online.

On this site you will have the opportunity to find out more about the cylinder format, listen to thousands of musical and spoken selections from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and discover a little-known era of recorded sound. If you know what you are looking for click the search button to begin, or you can browse by genre or sample some of our favorite selections in the featured cylinder section or by listening to online streaming radio.


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This project is supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the GRAMMY Foundation®, and contributions from individual donors.
   
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Archival preamplifier provided by Millennia Music and Media Systems
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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

Brother Masons - Frank Williams. (Columbia Phonograph Co.: 32849), [1906].


Cylinder Radio

Listen to a podcast or live stream of "audio theater" recordings on Cylinder Radio

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Did You Know?
The last commercially produced cylinders were Edison Blue Amberols, which were made until July, 1929.

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