Thursday 6th September 1888
The strains of the Band of the 2nd Volunteer Battalion South Wales Borderers were telephoned from Newport to Ebbw
Vale, where a bazaar was being held in aid of the funds of a church. To make matters easy for a number of listeners Mr Ashton, the obliging local superintendent of the Western Counties Telephone Co., had arranged a dozen listening tube at the Ebbw Vale Institute, where the bazaar was held, and getting music from Newport, a distance of 35 miles, proved the feature of the evening. The encores demanded were not stated. The band, under Mr Hazell, was stationed in the Newport office of the Ebbw Vale Company’s manager, and played a selection which comprised a clarionette solo, valse, piccolo solo, quadrille, waltz, grand march, march, fantasia, etc.
Interestingly, a month later, in October 1888, Colonel Gouraud, Thomas Edison’s agent in England, gave a reception in honour of the new “phonograph” with the arrival of a fresh batch of the precious cylinders from the USA. As reported: Breathlessly the guests watched them inserted into the instrument and set in action, and to their intense delight the sound given forth was that of a fascinating polka played outside Mr Edison’s laboratory, at Menlo, New Jersey, by an itinerant brass band. In a twinkling all prejudices against the proverbial ‘German band’ disappeared, the room was cleared, and the company was whirling in the mazy waltz, to the ghosts of the strains first played thousands of miles away.
The following year, in July 1889, there was a demonstration of the Edison Phonograph at the Victoria Hall in Exeter by Professor William Lynd, featuring the reproduction of a performance of a brass band.
A lantern lecture in Hackney, in April 1890, by J.E. Greenhill, demonstrated the Harmonograph, Sympalmograph and Edison’s latest Phonograph – which included the records “American Village Brass Bands“, “English Street Band“, “Horn Calls” and a “Cornet Solo”
In September 1890 William Lynd gave a demonstration of Edison’s phonograph at the Fine Art Institution in York, which included “Brilliant Cornet Solos by Celebrated Musicians” and “Performances of Brass Bands played before the phonograph in America and England“. The evening also included a “Great Vivisection Feat: Cutting a Living Man to Pieces, and the Cremation of a Living Woman” – a truly great night out! Just one of a series of similar occasions as he toured the country with his show. At one of his later shows, in Leighton Buzzard, he featured the cornet solo “The Ash Grove“, “Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep” played on euphonium three months back. “The most remarkable was the perfect and effective reproduction of the Silsden Brass Band, recorded in Yorkshire.”