Edison talking into his phonograph

Edison talking into his phonograph

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Edison talking into his phonograph, historical artwork. US inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) was a prolific inventor, filing some 1300 patents. The phonograph (1877) was his favourite invention, used to record and play back sounds. Talking into the trumpet vibrates a needle as it moves along a foil-wrapped cylinder. This left a trace on the foil that could be played back through a sound amplifier to reproduce a distorted but recognisable version of the original sounds (hearing tube on table). Electrical power comes from the battery at left. Artwork from the second volume (second period of 1888) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.

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