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Stop laughing at tinfoil hats, y'all! Oldest known playable recording (1878) restored.

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-25-12 05:37 AM
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Stop laughing at tinfoil hats, y'all! Oldest known playable recording (1878) restored.
Oldest known voice, music recording restored

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The recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.


"In the history of recorded sound that's still playable, this is about as far back as we can go," said John Schneiter, a trustee at the Museum of Innovation and Science, where it will be played Thursday night in the city where Edison helped found the General Electric Co.

The recording opens with a 23-second cornet solo of an unidentified song, followed by a man's voice reciting "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "Old Mother Hubbard." The man laughs at two spots during the recording, including at the end, when he recites the wrong words in the second nursery rhyme.

"Look at me; I don't know the song," he says.


The recording was made on a sheet of tinfoil, 5 inches wide by 15 inches long, and placed on the cylinder of the phonograph Edison invented in 1877 and began selling the following year.

A hand crank turned the cylinder under a stylus that would move up and down over the foil, recording the sound waves created by the operator's voice. The stylus would eventually tear the foil after just a few playbacks, and the person demonstrating the technology would typically tear up the tinfoil and hand the pieces out as souvenirs, according to museum curator Chris Hunter.

Popping noises heard on this recording are likely from scars left from where the foil was folded up for more than a century.

So there. :tinfoilhat: Wear it proudly.

I did not realize that tinfoil was that old, let alone recordings.

In fact, I did not know Edison was that old,

I also did not know about this museum. Sounds interesting. If I ever get to Schnectady, I will be sure to visit.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-26-12 03:18 AM
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1. They had it on CBS yesterday evening.
I wonder how Edison even thought to consider recording anything. How does one even think of that? The guy had some kind of imagination.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-26-12 03:30 AM
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2. Didn't Scorsese make a movie about a man whose invention Edison stole?
Edited on Fri Oct-26-12 03:36 AM by No Elephants

How--and why--did some cave person think of the wheel?

Some people can write, some can paint, some can farm, some can bake, some can invent.

I think Edison still holds the record for the most patents. Not sure about that, though. I do know for sure that he held it during his lifetime and for a long time after, though.

Went to Ft. Meyers to see the Red Sox play in spring training. Edison and Ford both had summer cabins there.

Luther Burbank had a lot to do with the grounds and, IIRC, good ole Teddy Roosevelt visited.

In fact, the palms that Edison enjoyed importing gave the city its nickname, City of Palms.

Even then, it was good to be the king of General Electric.

The cabins were suprisingly modest, but the guide said that was the vogue then for summer places.

Guess the folks at Newport Beach never got that memo.
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Pyrzqxgl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-26-12 04:22 PM
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3. The Oldest known Sound Recording is at least 10 years before that one.
It was made in France and is a recording of someone singing Debussy's "Claire DeLune"
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Divine Discontent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-26-12 05:18 PM
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4. TY! :)
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