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On Dec 14, 2011, at 3:41 PM, Sam Brylawski wrote:
> Patrick Feaster has been exploring recorded incunabula at the Smithsonian
> and elsewhere for two years or more. The office of Carlene Stephens, the
> curator of the Smithsonian's earliest recordings, was recently awarded a
> Grammy Foundation grant to inventory their holdings. Perhaps her
> application was prompted by Patrick's visits. In any case, here's an SI
> post that includes audio samples.
> Sam Brylawski
> On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 12:33 PM, David Lewis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> No, wait a minute! They are all down there right now, working on that
>> collection! The writer didn't mention them. Who else would be doing this
>> On another list, Dr. B. mentioned that at least the glass disc had been
>> played for an ARSC Conference of many moons ago. So this is not the first
>> time at least some of these things have been heard.
>> I remember I posted a query to 78-L around 2001 asking specifically what
>> happened to the Bell and Tainter wax, and why we still considered the
>> Crystal Palace recordings the oldest in the world if such artifacts were
>> around at all. I got a response from Allan Koenigsberg saying essentially
>> yes, they ARE around, but there is no safe way to recover the sound. He
>> also said he had at least one Bell & Tainter cylinder, but it was so tiny,
>> dry and fragile he didn't dare try to play it with a conventional pickup.
>> Dr. B did not mention the glass disc of "Barometer" at that time, though he
>> remembers it now.
>> Now that the sound on 1859-60 recordings of Scott de Martinville has been
>> recovered, some may say the point is academic as to what is the world's
>> oldest recording. I say it's more complicated than that -- we ought to know
>> what is the earliest recoverable playback we can have that was also played
>> back in its own time. For right now, the copper disc from 1881 seems to win
>> that distinction, but we haven't tried to playback any historical tinfoil
>> nor the telegraph signals that Edison recorded on a machine held at
>> Greenfield Village that holds square copper "discs." So all of this
>> research is still very much pending; it is great to see what it reveals,
>> David "Uncle Dave" Lewis
>> Lebanon, OH
>> On Wed, Dec 14, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Dick Spottswood <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> The writer is ignorant of (or chooses to ignore) David Giovannoni,
>>> Feaster and others who recovered and reproduced Leon Scott's 1850s
>>> [ARSCLIST] Alexander Graham Bell recordings played from 1880s
>>> Rob DeLand
>>> 12/14/2011 11:33 AM
>>> Sent by:
>>> Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <
>> [log in to unmask]>
>>> Please respond to Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
>>> I don't recall this being discussed here - it's not clear to me exactly
>>> these discs were not playable - soft wax?
>>> WASHINGTON (AP) ? Alexander Graham Bell foresaw many things, including
>>> people could someday talk over a telephone. Yet the inventor certainly
>>> never could have anticipated that his audio-recording experiments in a
>>> Washington, D.C., lab could be recovered 130 years later and played for a
>>> gathering of scientists, curators and journalists.
>>> "To be or not to be..." a man's voice can be heard saying in one
>>> recordingas it was played on a computer at the Library
>>> of Congress on Tuesday. The speaker from the 1880s recites a portion of
>>> Hamlet's Soliloquy as a green wax disc crackles to life from computer
>>> The early audio recordings ? which revealed recitations of Shakespeare,
>>> numbers and other familiar lines ? had been packed away and deemed
>>> at the Smithsonian Institution for more than a century. But new
>>> has allowed them to be recovered and played.
>>> The technology reads the sound from tiny grooves with light and a 3D
>>> camera. ...
>>> Many of the recordings are fragile, and until recently it had not been
>>> possible to listen to them without damaging the discs or cylinders.
>>> So far, the sounds of six discs have been successfully recovered through
>>> the process, which creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or
>>> cylinder. The map is processed to remove scratches and skips, and
>>> reproduces the audio content to create a standard digital sound file.