October 31, 2014

Soundtrack to History: 1878 Edison Audio Unveiled

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From the AP:

It’s scratchy, lasts only 78 seconds and features the world’s first recorded blooper.

The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound to be transferred from flimsy tinfoil to computer.

The recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.

[Clip]

In July, Hunter brought the Edison tinfoil recording to California’s Berkeley Lab, where researchers such as Carl Haber have had success in recent years restoring some of the earliest audio recordings.

[Clip]

Haber and his team used optical scanning technology to replicate the action of the phonograph’s stylus, reading the grooves in the foil and creating a 3D image, which was then analyzed by a computer program that recovered the original recorded sound.

Much More in the Complete Article

Images of Scanning Unit and Audio Files of Edison Audio Available Here

See Also: Early Sound Recordings by Alexander Graham Bell in 1880s Played Back With New Technology (December 13, 2011)

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.