Gramophones, those old-fashioned music machines, had their particular charms. They featured elegant brass bursting out of wooden stands, required no electricity, and played music at one consistent volume, the sound amplified by the size of the horn.
What they didn’t have was a library of tens of thousands of songs available at any given moment. Restoration Hardware, the upscale antiques purveyor, has created a mash-up of our era and Edison’s era, creating what it calls an iPhone Gramophone.
The first version of the gadget was made by Matt Richmond, a microbiologist turned furniture designer, after he discovered an old gramophone in a San Francisco antiques shop. Could this relic possibly be hooked up to a modern mp3 device? He took it home, tinkered around, and soon his iTunes library was playing out of the century-old contraption.