When graphic designer Livia Ritthaler moved to London to complete her bachelor’s degree, she found herself with “neither the money nor the space for a record player.” So she built one.
Her ultra-minimalist gramophone is made of just paper, wood, and metal and it’s operated by hand. Meaning: You twirl the record with your fingers. It is, of course, completely impractical. But it works! Here it is in action:
What I find amazing about this is how robust the playback is. Where I come from, record players are these high-precision weighted machines, carefully tuned for perfect sound. Yet, here’s a classic song being played with a technique not far off from emergency fire-making. The whole contraption wobbles as it spins and still it’s completely audible. It’s kind of nice to know that even if civilization completely collapses, we’ll be able to listen to tunes.
“I tried a lot of weird things to get it work,” says Ritthaler, “but now everyone can use it very easily.” She recommends 78rpm records, “because they are easier to spin consistently.”