The Paleophone Site, and Paleophone Productions, Studios, & Records,are named in honor of one of the inspired visions of the dashing Frenchman Charles Cros (1842-1888), pre-Dadaist poet, inventor, roommate of Rimbaud, communicator with Martians and Venusians, and connoisseur and consumer of copious amounts of absinthe. He was one of our great dreamers, and a member of the Hydropathes and the later Incoherents, two rascally and mischievous French art movements of the later 19th century.
Cros has the strange distinction of having invented both color photography (1867) and audio recording (April 1877) just before its better-credited coincidental inventors (Louis Ducos du Hauron and Thomas Edison). Unfortunately, he lacked the funds to pursue patents or to hire workers to develop his ideas. He called his proposed, well-described, unbuilt sound recorder “Paléophone (Voix Du Passé)”, which translates as “Ancient-Sounds (Voices of the Past).” We think it’s simply one of the more gorgeous words anyone has come up with.
We feel that Mr. Cros typifies the true “Amateur,” in a sense of the word that has been all but forgotten to us. Not an “amateur” as in one who lacks skill, but as in the Latin “amator” (“lover”). We might do well re-redefine the word as: One who does things out of love, passion and an inquisitive pioneering spirit, as opposed to a cynical professional hack. Some souls recognize that much of the most inspired art and invention has been done by the Lovers, the Amateurs. Nonetheless, we appreciate the necessity of subsidy to manifest one’s dreams. Let Mr. Cros be an inspiration and a warning to us all.