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Johnson Victrola Museum.

Johnson Victrola Museum

Field review by the editors.

Dover, Delaware

The recorded music industry was born in Delaware of all places, thanks to the business acumen of Eldridge Reeves Johnson. He was a machinist who invented the spring motor that freed early record players from having to be continuously cranked by hand. Using his profits he created the Victrola, the iconic early 20th century record player with the big flared horn. With those profits he signed popular music acts to recording contracts -- unheard of at the time -- so that people would buy records and then have to buy Victrolas to play them on.

The museum displays a selection of Victrolas, some quite fancy, as well as a recreated 1910 record shop and Johnson's posthumous Grammy Award.

There's also an exhibit devoted to Nipper the RCA Dog, who originally was the Victrola Dog (another Johnson innovation). In the gallery of Nipper statues, one is only a head mounted on the wall like a hunting trophy.

Johnson Victrola Museum

375 S. New St., Dover, DE
Hwy 1 exit 98. Drive west into town on Little Creek Rd/Division St. Cross State St., then take the third left onto New St. The museum will be four blocks south, on the right, at the corner of Bank Lane and New St.
W-Sa 9-4:30 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Free, donations welcome.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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