Engraving of an Edison cylindrical phonograph.

Engraving of an Edison cylindrical phonograph.

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Edison phonograph. Engraving of an early, cylindrical phonograph from 1877. The phonograph or gramophone was invented in 1877 by Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) and it was his favourite invention. It consisted of a foil wrapped on a cylinder (at centre). To make a recording, a free- floating needle was skimmed over the foil as the cylinder was rotated by a handle (at right). The needle was connected to a sound receiver (marked as 'F') The needle vibrated in time to the sound waves and made etchings in the foil. If a sound horn (marked as 'C') was attached, this etching could then be used to play back a distorted but recognisable recording of a person's voice.

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Keywords: communication, communications, edison, edison phonograph, gramophone, historical, history of science, phonograph, technology

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