In the 1870s, Heinrich Beck founded what would eventually become Beck’s Brewery. At about the same time, Thomas Edison was hard at work on creating the first phonograph. It’s a safe bet neither man thought the two products would ever merge, but when the New Zealand branch of Beck’s wanted to promote a new record label project, the company turned to design agency, Shine Limited to do exactly that. The designers concocted the Edison bottle, a simple glass beer bottle inscribed with music that can be played like a 19th-century phonograph cylinder. After recreating a tune on a few flat prototypes, the team’s next step was to build a device that could cut those same grooves onto a glass cylinder. To get the proper alignment, the group outfitted a lathe with an arm taken from a computer hard drive, which would cut with smoother, more accurate movements onto the Edison bottle.
Check out the videos below to hear the completed Edison bottle playing Arch Hill Recordings label’s first single, Here She Comes by Ghost Wave and watch how it was created.