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Archives at The Museum of Flight

Berliner, Emile, 1851-1929



  • Existence: 1852-1929

Biographical Note

Emile Berliner was born on May 20, 1851 in Hanover, Germany. He emigrated to the United States in 1870. He was an inventor and is best known for the record, a flat disc used with the phonograph. In 1894, Berliner founded the United States Gramophone Company.

Berliner also invented an acoustic tile, a mass-production loom, and an early concept of the helicopter. He helped John Newton Williams, who also piloted the craft, to build the first helicopter to fly in the United States on July 1, 1909.

Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, he focused on the development of a light-weight rotary engine, influencing many innovations and manufacturers, including the formation of Gyro Motor Company of which Berliner was President for a time. In 1922, Berliner and his son, Henry, demonstrated a working helicopter for the United States Army. Henry went on to found the Berliner Aircraft Company in 1926, which merged to become Berliner-Joyce Aircraft in 1929.

Emile Berliner died on August 3, 1929 from a heart attack.

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