The Academic Affairs Library’s recent acquisition of an Archeophone, made possible by the gift of alumnus Ben Jones, will allow fragile wax-cylinder recordings tucked away in Carolina’s Southern Folklife and Southern Historical Collections to be played safely for the first time in 40 to 50 years. Invented by Henri Chamoux, a French cylinder collector, the Archeophone was designed to play wax-cylinder recordings so as to cause little damage.

Before the Archeophone, playing the cylinders was risky—the weight of an old cylinder player’s tonearm damaged the cylinders. The Archeophone permits the tonearm weight, as well as where its stylus sits on the groove, to be adjusted and accommodates a variety of cylinder sizes. With the lathelike machine (one of only seven worldwide), studio engineer Jeffrey Carroll can transfer the recordings to more stable media that can be used by researchers.

Now that the Archeophone can be used to create copies of wax cylinders housed in Wilson Library, Steven Weiss, sound and image librarian, is eager to receive donations of wax-cylinder recordings from the South’s past.

Janet Wagner was formerly a staff writer for Endeavors.