Alexander Graham Bell, innovative scientist and inventor of the telephone, left behind some materials including some of the first recordings. Between 1880 and 1886, Bell began working on recording sound, conducting experiments on embossed foil and testing material such as wax, glass, paper and cardboard and then listening to what he created on these very DIY discs or cylinders. These discs, owned by the Smithsonian, were deemed inactive, silent artifacts… until now.
So basically, scientists used a micro camera and pointed it at the ancient grooves of the disc to get a 3D image of what exactly was recorded, and this was digitally transferred on to a computer. Now we are able to listen to one of the very first recordings (around 150 years old), and it won’t be long before someone makes a really annoying YouTube re-mix of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice. But that’s another story.
So, why is this so important, you may be thinking to yourself? Well, for one, Bell is one of the most important innovators in history. To physically have his first attempts and trials at recording sound is one thing, but to finally be able to play these recordings is an amazing example of how cool science and history is. Second, haven’t you ever wanted to hear what a person sounded like over a hundred years ago? We really never have, up until this point, we’ve just had Keira Knightley’s prim British accent in like every based-off-history movie to work with. This is the real deal, guys!
Click here to watch a video to hear a displeased Alexander Graham Bell as he experiments with recording sound.
Featured image via Slate