Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison - Earliest Audio Recording Deciphered

This is a great story. In the 1850s, a Frenchman develops a device that records audio as optical data. With modern technology, we can playback his recording.

Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison

For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words "Mary had a little lamb" on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison's invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.

The 10-second recording of a singer crooning the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune" was discovered earlier this month in an archive in Paris by a group of American audio historians. It was made, the researchers say, on April 9, 1860, on a phonautograph, a machine designed to record sounds visually, not to play them back. But the phonautograph recording, or phonautogram, was made playable -- converted from squiggles on paper to sound -- by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.

Check out the full article to listen to the 1860 recording.
via eit and Rawhide

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Magumbo9 years ago
Wow. This is amazing. Isnt it really earie that we are listening to a sound recorded durring the American civil war!
They played this on BBC Radio 4 the other day in the morning - and it started the presenter giggling. Unfortunately, the next news item was someone's death, through which she struggled to keep her composure, and failed, collapsing in fits of laughter.
According to our greatest scientists and geologists, this audio recording is the incontestable proof that back in 1860, France was under sea level.
VIRON9 years ago
Alexander Graham Bell also experimented with a similar machine before he invented the telephone. He was around that time working on teaching deaf people to speak. Perhaps he produced some more ancient recordings waiting to be played back.
Notbob9 years ago
this is so cool! ( enters time machine, goes back in time, tells Edison and rubs it in his face)
Goodhart9 years ago
that IS amazing.
2001warrior9 years ago
That is so cool! I could actually make some of the recording out!