I don't recall this being discussed here - it's not clear to me exactly why these discs were not playable - soft wax? -Rob http://news.yahoo.com/alexander-graham-bell-recordings-played-1880s-210138693.html WASHINGTON (AP) — Alexander Graham Bell foresaw many things, including that 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 speakers. The early audio recordings — which revealed recitations of Shakespeare, numbers and other familiar lines — had been packed away and deemed obsolete at the Smithsonian Institution for more than a century. But new technology 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 software reproduces the audio content to create a standard digital sound file.