Uncovered: The Oldest DJ Decks In The World

Phil Morse | Read time: < 1 min
Last updated 16 April, 2018


There’s a Sunday evening TV programme in the UK called “Antiques Roadshow”, where people take their old family heirlooms to special events to have them valued by experts. And last night, a family member alerted me to this little beauty on there – from the 1890s. It simply has to be the oldest dual-turntable system in history, right?

It’s called a “Symphonion 2”, and is kind of a music box, that “plays” special discs that have sharp metal teeth cut out of them, which trigger notes in order to “pluck” the melody. These German-built devices rapidly went out of fashion when actual records hit the market, but for a while, they were the height of recorded musical entertainment for Victorian-era parties.

One of the experts from the Antiques roadshow gets busy on the 1s and 2s.

What’s curious and delightful about this model is that it actually had two “turntables”. The experts all agreed they’d never seen anything like it before.

Seems like even 130 years ago, there were those folk who really couldn’t stand gaps in their music at parties. And that the German love for DJ culture goes back further than even many Germans might have dared to imagine…

Watch this video on YouTube

Ever seen one of these yourself? Got any more insight into what we’ve spotted here? We’d love to hear in the comments!

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