1860 – 1938
Who was Gianni Bettini?
Bettini was born in Novara. In the 1890s he was a New York socialite, living in the swanky central park south neighborhood, what is now in the center of Midtown on the edge of the Theater district. It was there that he operated his New York phonograph laboratory.
He made a number of high-end phonographs that are highly sought after today. He invented a playback device which improves the sound quality of recordings; The Micro-reproducer. There were many models and refinements but it all circulated around the isolation of the stylus, a multi-legged unit he called a "spider." most of his inventions were marketed toward what would later be considered audiophiles. One of his later inventions was a Universal Speed indicator. A device that aided the fine adjustment of a phonograph motor.
He made of extraordinary recordings of an elderly Pope Leo XIII in 1903, Mark Twain and President Benjamin Harrison. Bettini cylinders are among the rarest in existence. His catalog of opera recordings was 12 pages long, and the cylinders cost $6 when Edison cylinders cost under a dollar. Before World War I he brought many of his rare recordings to France. During the war most of them were destroyed, leading to their rarity. Later in his career he went into the motion picture business, to little effect. He died in 1938 in San Remo, Italy.
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