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Jennifer Rosenberg

Oldest Playable Sound Recording

By October 31, 2012

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On June 22, 1878, a man (believed to be Thomas Mason) gave a public demonstration of Thomas Edison's amazing new invention -- a phonograph. The miraculous machine could record a voice on tin foil and then play it back (but only a couple of times before it would tear). At this particular presentation, some music was recorded and then the man recited two nursery rhymes. However, since he couldn't remember all the correct lines, the man laughed a little at his mistakes.

This recording, made on the extremely fragile tin foil, miraculously survived more than a hundred years. With the help of researchers at the Berkeley Lab, we can once again hear one of the earliest sound recordings ever made. Read through this amazing story at The Atlantic, where you can also hear this very old sound recording.

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