The gramophone was invented by Emile Berliner. He improved on the design of the phonautograph by using discs instead of cylinders. Berliner patented his device on September 26, 1887.
The first company to reproduce Berliner's gramophone was the German toy manufacturer Kummerer & Reinhardt of Waltershausen. After securing funds from various investors, he founded the Berliner Gramophone Company in 1895. Despite being the founder, Berliner was only a minor stockholder in his company, which ceased its operations in 1900 due to an injunction order. Although attempts were made to reverse the order, the defunct company remained unable to market Berliner's gramophone.