From: Patent Tactics, George Brock-Nannestad
last year David Giovannoni and Patrick Feaster presented a fascinating story
at the ARSC Conference about their quest for material pertaining to the first
tracings of airborne sound by Édouard-Léon Scott (de Martinville, as he later
liked to call himself). I could not experience it in person, but I used the
facilties of the ARSC website to get as close as possible after the event. I
do not remember if they promised further publications on the firstsounds.org
website, but that is what we have now.
They have just published colour copies*) of all the phonautograms found so
far, of all of Scott's contributions and of all the known committee and
specialist reports on Scott's work that was all the rage for about 5 years
around 1860. All of this is collected in separate pdf files in its original
context. The most important, because the best authorities believed it to be
lost, comes from the Societé pour l'Encouragement pour l'Industrie
Nationale**). It is not only quite early in Scott's development, but it also
contains the evaluation by Lissajous even before it was printed.
Furthermore, Patrick has compiled a complete transcription and translation of
all of Scott's writings in a format that makes it easy to evaluate the
individual phonautograms, and, incidentally, to use the copy collections.
We now have a comprehensive corpus of material and a key to its use. It is
now up to us to do it honour.
Thank you so much!
*) The reason I call it "colour copies" rather than "facsimiles" as they
themselves do is that virtually all the pictures are reduced; the
phonautograms typically to 50%. In our digital age this does not really
matter if the images will tolerate enlargement by 200% (and they will, by a
good margin!), but the presence of margins on the imaginary pdf paper does
put it at 50% in old terms. And you will have to take special care if you
want to print the documents in their original size.
**) The condition of the original documents is worse than those at the other
repositories. And this is what would have led the "best authorities" to
believe they were lost. There is a further copy (40% reduction) of the
broadsheet that Scott had prepared, of which only one copy was known to exist
at the Académie des Sciences, and which I made available from July 2008 via
the Acoustical Society of America. The S.E.I.N. copy is very buckled, and the
image has an almost tangible quality.