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Joseph B. Fenby

Joseph Beverley Fenby was an inventor in St Johns, Worcester, England who was granted a patent on 13 January 1863 for an unsuccessful device called the “Electro-Magnetic Phonograph”, making him the first to use the term "phonograph", even before Thomas Edison. His concept detailed a system that would record a sequence of keyboard strokes onto paper tape. Although no model or workable device was ever made, it is often seen as a link to the concept of punched paper for player piano rolls (1880s), as well as Herman Hollerith's punch card tabulator (used in the 1890 census), a distant precursor to the modern computer. Fenby was well known in his home community because he was both the fire chief and mayor.

Fenby is also known for other inventions, notably the "Fenby folding chair", patented in the United States in 1881 and an associated camp stool. The chair became known as the Tripolina and inspired many similar designs.


He died in June 1903, in King's Norton, England, UK, aged 60.

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