Wednesday, November 21, 2012
On November 21, 1877, inventor and businessman Thomas Edison announced his invention of the first phonograph, a device for recording and replaying sound. He patented his “talking machine” the following year. He had conceived the principle of recording and reproducing sound earlier in 1877 while attempting to "play back" recorded telegraph messages (on a revolving paper disc) and automate speech sounds for the telephone (patented by Bell in 1876). The machine recorded sound on tinfoil around a grooved cylinder; the recordings were poor and could be played only a few times. Later models used wax-coated cylinders. Edison’s invention was so astounding and magical that he became known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," site of his New Jersey laboratory. Pictured: Edison photographed by Matthew Brady, 1878.