SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Edison and his phonograph. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), US inventor, listening to sound being played back from a phonograph. Edison developed his phonograph in 1877. Early versions used a needle (vibrating under sound waves) to record sound waves on tin foil. Moving the needle back over the traces on the foil would reproduce a distorted but recognisable sound. Edison's work often involved trial and error, and he would work continuously for days to improve his inventions. Edison was a prolific inventor, filing some 1300 patents. He called the phonograph his favourite invention.
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