Recording Pioneers

William/Wilhelm MICHAELIS  ("Will")1861 - 1944   arrowarrow PIONEER    PARENTS    LIFE    NOTES    LABELS    PHOTOS    THANK YOU


William/Wilhelm MICHAELIS  ("Will")1861 - 1944

aka William Michaelis, Wilhelm Michaelis, W. Michaelis, Will Michaelis
birth 8 May 1861, Danzig, GERMANY/POLAND
baptism ..............
death .. July/Aug/Sep 1944, ..........., Hampstead, ENGLAND (83y) (GRO 1a / 457)
marriage ..

b. .... 1866, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
d. .....................



father .......... MICHAELIS
mother ..............
  • Alfred

    b. .... <1858>, Danzig(?), GERMANY/POLAND
    d. .. Apr/May/June 1925, .........., Hendon, ENGLAND (67y) (GRO 3a / 319)

  • Anna

    b. 2 Feb 1860, Danzig, GERMANY/POLAND
    d. 30 Aug 1942, Theresienstadt

  • William/Wilhelm

    b. 8 May 1861, Danzig, GERMANY/POLAND
    d. .. July/Aug/Sep 1944, ..........., Hampstead, ENGLAND (83y))


brother of Alfred
merchant of Brighton, Sussex
Sept 1899 co-director (for 3 years) of The Gramophone Company (Italy) Ltd.

Our friend, Mr. Seymour, filed two specifications in reference to the recording and reproduction of this type of disc as far back as 1903, and one Dr. Michaelis, a German, took out a patent in this country a few months later for a somewhat similar invention. The doctor's was a rather curious production with celluloid on which the record had been impressed. He called it the " Neophone," and we saw one of them not long since in the possession of a collector, who preserved it as a curio. Some of these discs were huge affairs, 20 ins. across. As a matter of fact, they were ultimately a failure. The strawboard warped and the records became useless. (from: The Talking Machine Industry. Published by SIR ISAAC PITMAN & SONS, LTD.) online

Inventor of the Neophon (London) (see Joe Batten, p. 49-50)
Introduced NEOPHONE discs (Andrews' Fonotipia, p. 18)
Neophon see: Franz Schorn's "Alte Schallplatten-Marken", p. 78 (on label: System Dr. Michaelis)
see picture Otto Watzig (NEOPHON)

Wilhelm MICHAELIS (76y) widower
nationality: German
Born: Danzig
dep.: Hamburg, 20 Oct 1938
arr.: New York, 28 Oct 1938
Last permanent residence: Baden-Baden, Germany
Immigration Visa, Passport Visa, or Re-entry Permit Number - 275 NIV. Stuttgart - Issued Oct. 14, 1938 at Stuttgart


  • NEOPHONE the first vertical-cut record The first to issue vertical-cut discs ... (The 78 rpm homepage-Neophone)
  • Joe Batten's Book. The Story of Sound Recording by Joe Batten (1956, Rockcliff Publishing Corporation)
  • H 3985 Gramophone and parts: Neophone
  • Dead Media Home Page (The dead media project) Working notes: In London in 1904 William Michaelis (Gelatt, p. 169) Repro-Neo (Reproducer-Neophone)
  • Vintage Brass Band Recordings: Neophone 15059-15066 (1905)
  • type in: "Neophone reproducer" (= soundbox): Syst. Dr. Michaelis (photo)
  • Guinness, p. 125/190 (Neophone)
  • Alte Schallplatten-Marken by Franz Schorn (photocopy)
  • A rare Neophone Home Recorder (put up for sale on the internet)
  • From Tinfoil to Stereo: pp. 146/149-150/158/193/341
  • Neophone Record Labels (
  • H3985 Gramophone and parts, 'Neophone', 12" wood/metal, Dr Michaelis, [1900-1915] (Collection Powerhouse Museum) (photograph)
  • Flexible Records Project
  • Neophone. The first vertical-cut record (
  • Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the United States, ed. Marco, 1993 (article by Frank Andrews)
  • Neophone; Neophone Disc Phonograph Records, Their Founding & History by Frank Andrews (in: The Talking Machine Review No. 51 (April 1978), pp. 1304-1313)
  • Neophone by Frank Andrews (in: The Talking Machine Review No. 52-53 (June - August 1978), pp. 1333-1339)
  • Neophone: A catalogue of Neophone Records known to have been advertised in Britain - part 1 by Frank Andrews (in: The Talking Machine Review No. 54-55 (October 1978), pp. 1397-1400)
  • Neophone, Part 2 by Frank Andrews (in: The Talking Machine Review No. 56-57 (February-April 1979), pp. 1455-1457)
  • Neophone: A catalogue of Neophone Records known to have been advertised in Britain - part 3 by Frank Andrews (in: The Talking Machine Review No. 59 (August 1979), pp. 1577-1578)
  • The Talking Machine Review No. 65-66 (February 1983) pp 1798-1807: Catalogue of Neophone Disc Phonographs (1906) with picture of Dr. [William] Michaelis
  • The Talking Machine Review No. 75 (Autumn 1988), p. 2201: Neophon(e)
  • The Talking Machine Review No. 75 (Autumn 1988), pp. 2209-2224 : reproduction of NIPPONOPHONE MACHINES catalogue of June 1912
  • A Fonotipia Fragmenta by Frank Andrews, p. 18
  • Neophon-Pathé in Phonographische Zeitschrift of 8 Nov 1906
  • Neophon-Platten in Phonographische Zeitschrift of 22 Nov 1906
  • A FONOTIPIA FRAGMENTA. A History of the Societa Italiana di Fonotipia - Milano 1903-1948 by Frank Andrews (Historic Singers Trust, 2002), p. 47 (this (revised) edition originally appeared as a series of articles in The Talking Machine Review - International between June 1976 and December 1977)
  • “Some Trade Glances in Europe” (in: The Music Trade Review Vol. 43, No. 9 (Published Every Saturday by Edward Lyman Bill at 1, Madison Ave., New York, Sep 1, 1906)
  • Picture of William Michaelis, Alessandro Moreschi and Will Gaisberg in A Voice in Time (opposite p. 104)
  • Article by Fred Gaisberg (in: The Gramophone of January 1944, pp. 117-119)
  • "Caruso’s First Recordings: Myth and Reality" by S. P. Martland (in: ARSC Journal XXV / ii 1994, pp. 192-201)
  • see: FRED GAISBERG DIARIES, part 1 - USA & Europe (1898 - 1902) (illustrated) (on this website)
  • A Voice in Time. The Gramophone of Fred Gaisberg 1873-1951 by Jerrold Northrop Moore. London, 1976


Recording in the Vatican, April 1902.
Left to right: William Michaelis, the castrato Alessandro Moreschi and Will Gaisberg.


Julie Carrington
Gregor Macaulay
Dagmar Rumpf
Simon Nobis
Martha Kelley