Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice Identified On 130 Year Old Wax Recording, You Can Hear It Too

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Alexander Graham Bell’s Voice Identified On 130 Year Old Wax Recording, You Can Hear It Too

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Researchers have identified the voice of Alexander Graham Bell for the first time in some of the earliest audio recordings ever created.

The National Museum of American History discovered the recording on a wax disc from 1885, which had been donated to the Smithsonian Museum.

Alexander Graham Bell

A closeup of the recording that revealed Alexander Graham Bell’s voice for the first time.

The Smithsonian has released the audio recovered from a wax and cardboard disc dated April 15, 1885.

“Hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell,” the inventor said.

As the SmithsonianMag reports, from the 1880s on, until his death in 1922, Bell gave an extensive collection of laboratory materials to the Smithsonian Institution, where he was a member of the Board of Regents. The donation included more than 400 discs and cylinders Bell used as he tried his hand at recording sound. The holdings also documented Bell’s research, should patent disputes arise similar to the protracted legal wrangling that attended the invention of the telephone.

Until very recently, these wax recordings were unplayable. We did not have the right tools, and even if we had, playing them would ruin the wax cylinders or fragile records upon which the sounds were stored. 

In late 2011, scientists played back some of Bell’s earliest recordings for the first time with new technology that reads the sound digitally from tiny grooves in the wax disc using light and a 3D camera. 

The breakthrough offered a glimpse at the experiments with sound and recording at the dawn of the information age when inventors were scrambling to secure patents for the first telephones and phonographs.

The recordings were packed away for more than 100 years and were deemed obsolete until new technology allowed them to be replayed.


You can here the audio recording below (courtesy Gizmodo) :

 [SmithsonianMag, The Atlantic, Gizmodo]

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Shivaank Rana
Shivaank Rana
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