Edison's first phonograph, 1877

Edison's first phonograph, 1877

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Edison's first phonograph. 19th-century illustration of the first phonograph, devised in 1877 by US inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). It both recorded and recreated sounds using a foil-wrapped cylinder (centre). A sound receiver (round) rested lightly on the foil by a needle (not seen). Sound waves made the receiver vibrate, leaving a trace on the foil as the cylinder was turned with the handle at right. The recorded sound could then be recreated by attaching the sound horn (upper right) to the receiver, adjusting the position of the needle to the start of the trace, and rotating the cylinder. Distorted but recognisable sounds were produced. This illustration is from 'Physique Populaire' (Emile Desbeaux, 1891).

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