Thursday, April 25, 2013

We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until Now | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine


We Had No Idea What Alexander Graham Bell Sounded Like. Until Now | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine: Inside the lab, Bell and his associates bent over their pioneering audio apparatus, testing the potential of a variety of materials, including metal, wax, glass, paper, plaster, foil and cardboard, for recording sound, and then listening to what they had embedded on discs or cylinders. However, the precise methods they employed in early efforts to play back their recordings are lost to history.

As a result, says curator Carlene Stephens of the National Museum of American History, the discs, ranging from 4 to 14 inches in diameter, remained “mute artifacts.” She began to wonder, she adds, “if we would ever know what was on them.”
The historic discs bear an uncanny resemblance to modern compact discs. 

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