17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, August 14, 1912: Ruth and I went up to Oakes’ this evening. We were treated to the pleasure of hearing a Victor Victrola. I enjoyed it very much. It being the first time I had ever heard one play.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
The Oakes family lived on a farm near the Muffly’s. They had several children who were close in age to Grandma and her sister Ruth.
What a fun evening! I can almost picture 4 or 5 teen-agers and young adults gathered around the Victor Victrola machine listening to very scratchy music—while thinking that it was absolutely the most awesome thing ever.
The first Victor Victrola machine was produced in 1906—so the technology must have spread relatively rapidly if a farm family in rural Pennsylvania owned one by 1912.
According to Wikipedia:
Soon an extensive line of Victrolas was marketed, ranging from small tabletop models selling for $15, through many sizes and designs of cabinets intended to go with the decor of middle-class homes in the $100 to $250 range, up to $600 Chippendale and Queen Anne-style cabinets of fine wood with gold trim designed to look at home in elegant mansions.
One of the things that I’ve really enjoyed about Grandma’s diary is when Grandma mentions the first time she experiences various new technologies.
In May, 1912 Grandma rode in an automobile for the first time.