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    • CommentAuthorpi8you
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
    Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison -
    For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words “Mary had a little lamb” on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison’s invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.

    The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song “Au Clair de la Lune” was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable — converted from squiggles on paper to sound — by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
    I heard about this on my way home from work on NPR. The actual recording sounds slightly creepy to me.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2008
    Further proof that Edison was a hack.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2008 edited
    Yeah but at least Edison didn't defraud de Martinville out of money he promised him; steal his work and then slander and harass him and pursue him through the courts until he ended up bankrupt and crazy.
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    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2008
    I heard this, it sounded like someone trying to shout with a piece of paper wrapped round their head.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeMar 28th 2008
    There were other pre-Edison sound-graphing experiments. I read about one that used a glass disk coated with soot.

    The intent wasn't sound recording. Experimenters thought they could learn stuff by looking at the squiggles. So, Edison wasn't a total wanker in this case. Although, he did wank a bit later on, when he sued the developers of a superior wax-cylinder-based recorder after more or less abandoning his tinfoil cylinder recorder.

    Strange but true: CBS and Columbia Records trace their roots with the District of Columbia area distributor for Edison's gadget. He was pissed off that people were using his serious office dictation machine to play music. Columbia told him to take a leap and got into the music cylinder business.