The voice of Edison via shaking light sound

thomas edison pallophotophoneDead or near-dead media formats: wax cylinders, 8-tracks, cassettes, floppy discs, CDs (almost) and... the pallophotophone.

The pallophotowhat?

From the GE Reports blog:

A pile of dusty film canisters in the basement of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium has yielded some of the world's oldest surviving radio broadcasts. The 20 shows were first heard on Schenectady radio station WGY between 1929 and 1931. One features a talk by GE founder Thomas Edison in a broadcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of the incandescent light bulb. Another is a portion of a high school basketball game that's believed to be the second oldest surviving sports broadcast.
They were recorded on a long forgotten machine that GE developed in 1922 called a pallophotophone -- after the Greek words for "shaking light sound" -- in one of the earliest attempts to record sound on film. But there was only one catch with the great find: There weren't any known pallophotophones in existence to play back the lost pieces of history.
Enter the museum's curator, Chris Hunter, and GE's engineers, who together cracked the pallophotophone code.

How? The engineers built a whole new machine out of modern parts to read the media.

The post includes a photo of the new machine and audio from one of the Edison recordings.

Earlier on AOA: The new old Daily Gazette

photo: Schenectady Museum via GE Reports

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

Two things (indirectly) prompted this post: 1. The discussion around that Miss Pearl question about moving out of Albany for the school district. 2. Another... (more)

Chip Kidd at Skidmore

Designer/author Chip Kidd will be at Skidmore November 13 for a talk and Q&A. Kidd is probably best known for this book covers. He's designed... (more)

Toughness

Over at the Times Union, Deanna Fox talked with Eliza Winters about keeping her family's Hill Hollow Farm in Rensselaer County going after her husband's... (more)

Evil Dead: The Musical x2

Somewhat improbably, there's a stage musical version of The Evil Dead cult-classsic movie series. And somewhat even more improbably, there will be two productions of... (more)

Contractor for matching historical building style?

Omar emails: I'm buying a victorian-style house in Troy soon and would like to have a garage built. I would like it to match the... (more)

Recent Comments

... Let's also lower the city speed limit to 25 while we're at it. Maybe then these morons will not go 45 miles an hour down Washington Avenue. Why should cities surrender themselves to the automobile and automobile drivers? - the very forces that killed cities to begin with. ...

Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jeremy

Contractor for matching historical building style?

...has 4 comments, most recently from Sean

Albany Common Council passes red light camera ordinance: comments, votes, thoughts

...has 35 comments, most recently from Joe A

Figuring Sh!t Out with Amy Biancolli

...has 3 comments, most recently from Deanna

Toughness

...has 2 comments, most recently from Deanna