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Phonautograph

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1857 phonautograph / excellent results

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THE 1857 PHONAUTOGRAPH / JUST ARRIVED

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The first known recording of a human voice, from April 9th, 1860. (Phonautograph Etching)

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Bell & Blake Ear Phonautograph – Video Profile

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1857 phonautograph / recording test # 3 / improved results

The phonautograph is the earliest known device for recording sound. Previously, tracings had been obtained of the sound-producing vibratory motions of tuning forks and other objects by physical contact with them, but not of actual sound waves as they propagated through air or other media. Invented by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, it was patented on March 25, 1857. It transcribed sound waves as undulations or other deviations in a line traced on smoke-blackened paper or glass. Intended solely as a laboratory instrument for the study of acoustics, it could be used to visually study and measure the amplitude envelopes and waveforms of speech and other sounds, or to determine the frequency of a given musical pitch by comparison with a simultaneously recorded reference frequency.
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