Edison’s first sound recording predated by 20 years


March 27, 2008

March 28, 2008 Thomas Alva Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound since he captured the spoken words "Mary had a little lamb" on a sheet of tinfoil. Now a recording has come to light made by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville on his phonautograph which captured the waves and translated them into visible form on paper. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed the playback technology which unlocked the recorded sound (listen to it here as an MP3). According to the researchers, the recording was made on April 9, 1860, predating Edison’s recording by a full two decades.

The New York Times has the full story, though there’s a plethora of information on the web about the Frenchman and his work. Interestingly, in a self-published memoir in 1878, Scott de Martinville railed against Edison for "appropriating" his methods and misconstruing the purpose of recording technology. The goal, Scott argued, was not sound reproduction, but "writing speech, which is what the word phonograph means."

via slashdot and Wikipedia.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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