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ARSCLIST  January 2012

ARSCLIST January 2012

Subject:

Early European Edison Phonograph Recordings Released

From:

Gerald Fabris <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 20:26:12 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (86 lines)

Thomas Edison NHP News Release
For Release: Monday January 30, 2012, 2:00pm Eastern Time
Contact: Jerry Fabris
Phone: 973-736-0550 x48


Early European Edison Phonograph Recordings Released

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Today the National Park Service announces the first-time 
release of 12 historic sound recordings made by Thomas Edison’s recording 
engineer Theo Wangemann on wax cylinders during 1889-1890 in Germany, 
Austria, Prussia, and France. The recordings include the voices of eminent 
German historical figures Otto von Bismarck and Helmuth von Moltke, and 
several performances by important musicians of the period. The sounds are 
available on-line in MP3-format at:  
<http://www.nps.gov/edis/photosmultimedia/theo-wangemann-1889-1890-european-
recordings.htm>.  

On Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 12:00 noon, historian Patrick Feaster, 
will present a one-hour program about the recordings, titled Theo 
Wangemann: The Man Who Made the Phonograph Musical. This presentation will 
explore the life and career of Theo Wangemann, who was arguably the world’s 
first professional recording engineer. Also at the program, collector 
Stuart H. Miller, M.D. will exhibit the phonograph used by Wangemann in 
Europe during 1889-1890. The program will be held in the Laboratory Complex 
at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, 211 Main Street. The entrance 
fee to the park is $7.00, children under 16 are free.  Seating is limited 
and reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling 973-736-
0550, ext. 89.

Museum Curators first cataloged the damaged wooden box containing the wax 
cylinders in 1957, found in the library of the Edison Laboratory.  In 2005, 
the National Park Service completed a multi-year project to individually 
catalog every historic sound recording in the museum collection. Curators 
noted that the box contained 17 brown wax cylinders in fair and poor 
condition, several broken with large pieces missing.  No title list or 
other identification survived in the box with the recordings, so the 
recordings could not be identified until they were heard.  In 2011, the 
park's Curator of Sound Recordings digitized 12 of Wangemann's 17 cylinders 
using a French-made Archeophone cylinder playback machine, saving the audio 
as Broadcast Wave Format files. (Five of the cylinders could not be 
digitized due to their condition.)  Once the audio could be heard, 
historians Stephan Puille and Patrick Feaster identified the sounds and 
wrote two scholarly essays, which are included with the recordings on the 
Thomas Edison National Historical Park website.  

Entrusted by Thomas Edison with the task of applying the newly developed 
wax cylinder phonograph to music, Theo Wangemann oversaw the first regular 
production of pre-recorded cylinders at the Edison Laboratory in West 
Orange, New Jersey in 1888-89, ushering in the beginnings of the American 
musical recording industry.  Then, in 1889-90, Wangemann played a prominent 
role in introducing Edison’s invention to continental Europe.


-----------------------------
Stephan Puille is a conservator of archaeological finds and technical 
employee at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin (HTW Berlin) - 
University of Applied Sciences.  For more than ten years he studies the 
history of sound recording from the beginning up to 1914, holds lectures 
and writes articles on the subject. In addition, he is a phonograph and 
phonogram collector who concentrates on early and historically significant 
items. Contact: Stephan Puille, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft 
Berlin, Wilhelminenhofstraße 75A, 12459 Berlin, Germany.  E-mail: 
[log in to unmask]

Patrick Feaster ([log in to unmask], 812-331-0047) is a researcher and 
educator specializing in the history and culture of sound media.  A co-
founder of FirstSounds.org and two-time Grammy nominee, he received his 
doctorate in Folklore and Ethnomusicology in 2007 from Indiana University 
Bloomington, where he is currently a lecturer in the Department of 
Communication and Culture, a member of the Media Preservation Initiative, 
and an instructor for the School of Continuing Studies.

Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a National Park Service site 
dedicated to promoting an international understanding and appreciation of 
the life and extraordinary achievements of Thomas Alva Edison by 
preserving, protecting, and interpreting the Park’s extensive historic 
artifact and archive collections at the Edison Laboratory Complex and 
Glenmont, the Edison family estate.  The Visitor Center is located at 211 
Main Street in West Orange, New Jersey.  The Laboratory Complex is open 
Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00am to 5:00pm.  For more information or 
directions please call 973-736-0550 ext. 11 or visit our website at 
www.nps.gov/edis .

-NPS-

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