Sounds of Tin

In 1877, Thomas Edison was the first person to devise a way to reproduce sound. He invented the tinfoil phonograph, which formed the basis for all recorded sound and music to come. Audio was recorded on pieces of tin, then played on the phonograph – and scientists in Berkeley were recently able to play one of Edison’s recordings from 1878 for the first time, via computer analysis. Prior to the ‘performance’ at the GE Theatre in Schenectady, NY, there was no device on which to play the tin music pieces. The team were able to recover the sounds of someone reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” a cornet playing, and a man laughing.

(Image of Andrew Bird’s Sonic Arboretum)

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