Next on the playlist: something from 1878

edison with tinfoil phonograph 1878

Thomas Edison with a tinfoil phonograph, probably in 1878. The tinfoil was later replaced by wax cylinders.

Old-school sound: miSci -- formerly the Schenectady Museum -- will be revealing the recording from its 1878 Edison tinfoil tonight (Thursday). It's the second oldest documented Edison tinfoil recording -- it includes what is probably the oldest playable American voice, as well as the first ever recording of a musical performance. From the blurbage:

Attendees will learn the background of the object, how it fits into miSci's collections, what its significance is in the timeline of larger technological innovations and the latest breaking news - the owner of the voice is revealed!
The presentation will also tell why the recordings couldn't be recovered until now, the story of some of the challenges faced, the technological innovations (the development of special software programming called PRISM) made to read the tin foil and where the tin foil fits in the spectrum of surviving recordings throughout the world.

Here's a bit more about the recording from an AP story.

The miSci event is at the GE Theater at Proctors at 6:30 pm. It's free.

If you go, take a moment to imagine yourself 300 years in the future at an event in which scientists and curators are debuting a recently developed emulator for an archaic audio format known as an "mp3" and display a quaint little device called an "iPod." (The use of iPods, mp3s, AACs, and other related tech was made obsolete once Apple introduced the iBrain and started streaming music directly to a chip in people's heads.)

Earlier on AOA: What you can't see at the Schenectady Museum

miSci advertises on AOA.

photo: Levin C. Handy via the Library of Congress via Wikipedia

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