The Stanford Libraries now supports cylinder preservation

Endpoint cylinder player

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab now supports cylinder transfers! With support from the Archive of Recorded Sound, SUL Tech Support, and Digital Library Systems and Services, SMPL was able to purchase an Endpoint Audio cylinder player.


This cutting-edge cylinder player developed by Nicholas Bergh features many outstanding and unique features that aid world class capture. One of the most exciting aspects is the machine has a laser that guides manual mandrel adjustment to compensate for radial deformation of the cylinder (this can be viewed in the demonstration video below), but it doesn’t stop there. During transfer, the same laser is used to create a data file that can be used to remove speed inconsistency from cylinders that are ovalized from physical degradation. The process using the data file is done post transfer, an important aspect to maintain best practices in historic media capture.


In addition to being able to preserve the cylinder collections held by the Stanford Libraries, this purchase also connects to personal experience. When I was preparing to enter college for the first time, I received the Maggie Gisslow Memorial Scholarship from the Bidwell Mansion Association (Gisslow was a gifted tour guide that happened to be blind). If you haven’t visited, it is a mansion in Chico, California, that was owned by Annie and John Bidwell, two early non-indigenous people that crossed the Sierra Nevada; John was appointed by Governor Leland Stanford as Brigadier General of California State Militia. One of the features I noticed as a child while on tours was the cylinder player, a piece of furniture that jumps out to a young musician for obvious reasons. Perhaps it’s fitting that I work to enable access to the aural history of California and beyond, and that work now includes cylinders.