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October 25, 2012 9:15 PM Subscribe
The oldest known recording of American voice has been restored and replayed for the first time in over 100 years.
posted by Esteemed Offendi (29 comments total)
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Dating to June 22, 1878, the recording was made for an early Edison phonograph on tin foil which had become too fragile and torn to play back. Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory optically scanned
the foil and developed a program to replay it digitally.
The recording is evidently of a newspaper writer named Thomas Mason (who went under the pen name I.X. Peck) who purchased the phonograph from Edison and made an exposition of it in St. Louis. The recording
features cornet music as well as Mason reciting nursery rhymes and laughing. Flubbing a line to Old Mother Hubbard, he also creates the first recorded blooper. Three weeks after making the recording, Mason died of sunstroke.
The oldest playable recording of any voice dates to 1860, a phonautograph
of a Frenchman singing Au Clair de la Lune. Previously