katycat: (xkcd - science)
The K-T Boundary ([personal profile] katycat) wrote2012-02-12 05:24 pm

Earliest Sound Recordings

I've been following the news reports on this for a while now, and this afternoon I finally spent some time on their website: FirstSounds.org. This group has been working for the last several years to virtually play back phonautograms (sound waves scratched on a sheet of coated paper by a needle - kind of like a seismograph) from the 1860s and later. You might have seen this 2008 NYT story. Everything is up on their site, with several more accurate renditions of that first recording of "Au Clair de la Lune." Just a couple months ago they put up some recordings from the earliest disks intended for playback, made in the 1880s - including the first recorded f-bomb.

And when you're done there (none of the recordings are more than few minutes - most are only seconds), you can listen to William Jennings Bryan talk about imperialism during the election of '08 - 1908, that is.