vendredi, mars 28, 2008

The invention before the invention

Didn't you grow up thinking Thomas Edison was the man who invented recorded sound?

Apparently he wasn't-although he may have been the first person who thought about recording it so we could hear it.

See the article linked above for a fascinating vignette about a Frenchman named Scott and his phonautogram, a horn attached to a stylus.

Invented years before Edison got his patent, the phonautogram recorded sound onto a piece of paper blackened by lamp oil. Edison still gets the nod for conceptualizing the notion of sound that is played back.

Discovered by American scientists, the seconds-long recording of "Au Clair de la Lune" will be played in public today at a conference. Discoverers speculate it was a recording made of Scott's 15 year old daughter-a small window into a past that, up until a day or so ago, few of us knew existed.

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