Edison cylindrical phonograph.

Edison cylindrical phonograph.

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Edison phonograph. Engraving of a battery-powered cylindrical phonograph from the 1870s. It consists of a foil wrapped on a cylinder (at upper right). To make a recording, a free-floating needle was skimmed over the foil which was revolved by an electric motor (at centre) powered by a battery (at left). The needle was connected to a sound receiver (at right). The needle vibrated in time to the sound waves and made etchings in the foil. If a sound horn was attached, this etching could then be used to play back a distorted but recognisable recording of a person's voice. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) devised the phonograph in 1877 and it was his favourite invention.

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Keywords: 1870s, battery, communication, communications, edison, edison phonograph, electric phonograph, gramophone, historical, history of science, phonograph, technology

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