A History of the Phonograph: Glossary of Terms
Kristina Marie Darling

benzine. Part of an early system of recording, which made use of beeswax and ether. When sounds were reproduced -- at a garden party, for example -- the device's radium dials could be seen shimmering beneath her mother's beveled mirror.

beeswax. A template onto which the music was inscribed. When still fairly untested, she feared that it would cleave beneath the weight of Rachmaninoff's magnum opus as it unfurled like an exotic red lily.

emboss. To impress upon, usually with the intent of preserving. Between movements the phonograph seemed to turn more slowly, heavy with the wilted corsages of last season.

phonautograph. A precursor to the garden party. The lilies unpinned from her green silk dress.

record. A series of etchings from which sounds are replayed. Once her memory was shown to be unreliable, numerous attempts were made to translate these intricate hieroglyphs.

spiral. Considered the raison d'etre of the recording's fidelity. For more extensive documentation, see Appendix C.

stylus. A tool most often used for embossing. Throughout Europe, the leading debutantes had developed a fascination with subjectivity, and so these instruments fell out of fashion.