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Can You Hear Me Now: Thomas Edison's Phonograph


Long before we had the luxury of streaming audio and downloading tracks from our favorite music artist, recording sound and playing it back audibly was a mystery. The phrase "capturing the moment" was as true as a clock ticking on the wall.

In 1877 and a american inventor and businessman by the name of Thomas Edison presented the world with the Phonograph. While other inventors had produced devices that could record sounds, Edison's phonograph was the first to be able to reproduce the recorded sound. His phonograph originally recorded sound onto a tinfoil sheet wrapped around a rotating cylinder. A stylus responding to sound vibrations produced an up and down or hill-and-dale groove in the foil. Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory made several improvements in the 1880s, including the use of wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and a cutting stylus that moved from side to side in a "zig zag" groove around the record.

The disc phonograph record was the dominant audio recording format

throughout most of the 20th century. From the mid-1980s on, phonograph use on a standard record player declined sharply because of the rise of the cassette tape, compact disc and other digital recording formats. Records are still a favorite format for some audiophiles and DJs. Vinyl records are still used by some DJs and musicians in their concert performances. Musicians continue to release their recordings on vinyl records. The original recordings of musicians are sometimes re-issued on vinyl.

Here is Thomas Edison speaking on the phonograph:


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