HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES LIBRARY / NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HUMANITIES & SOCIAL SCIENCES LIBRARY / NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Edison and his phonograph. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931, centre), US inventor, operating his favourite invention, the phonograph. This machine was used to record and play back sounds. Turning the handle moved a foil-wrapped cylinder past a needle. Sound was transmitted by a receiving device attached to the needle, causing the needle to vibrate and leave a trace on the foil. A sound amplifier was then attached to the receiver, the needle was placed at the beginning of the trace, and the cylinder was rotated to produce distorted but recognisable sounds. Edison was a prolific inventor, filing some 1300 patents.
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