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Phonograph cabinet is a reminder that music wasn't always portable

September 13, 2014

Irving & Casson - A. H. Davenport phonograph cabinet
A phonograph cabinet manufactured by Irving and Casson - A. H. Davenport.

Thanks to iTunes, MP3 players, and other technological breakthroughs, we are accustomed to having the music we want to hear available to us at any time and place. However, such portability was not always the case.

Consider this phonograph cabinet manufactured by Irving & Casson – A. H. Davenport Co. in 1922. Although its design evokes the William and Mary style of the early eighteenth century, the phonograph it held represented the latest available technology of a century ago, allowing consumers to bring music into their parlors.

Irving & Casson – A. H. Davenport Co. was among the finest American manufacturers of furniture and interior woodwork from 1880 until the 1970s. Historic New England has recently begun an eighteen-month project to catalogue and digitize a vast collection of design drawings, photographs, and other material from the firm. Upon completion in late 2015, you will be able to browse over 8,000 images from the collection on our website.

Stay tuned for more glimpses into this exciting project. You can also support the preservation of this and other Historic New England collections with a gift to the Collections and Conservation Fund.

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Phonograph cabinet is a reminder that music wasn't always portable