The History of the Phonograph

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THE HISTORY OF THE PHONOGRAPH HEATHER HANNETT HUMN303 PROF. FAUGHT APRIL 2ND, 2012 Thomas Edison created the phonograph in 1877. It was created only shortly after the telephone and the telegraph, once he saw the results from those he released the phonograph. Omphlegraph, antiphone, and didaskaphone are just some of the names someone wrote in the log book in Thomas Edison’s laboratory in 1877 for the phonograph. At first, they thought it would be used to reproduce the human voice, but they had no clear idea of its exact purpose (Stross, 2010). Edison once said “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.” But all his life, he was a better inventor than a salesman. The phonograph, his first invention to make him world-famous, is a perfect example. It was the product of a well-prepared but wandering mind. In 1877, Edison was working on a machine that would transcribe telegraphic messages through indentations on paper tape, which could later be sent over the telegraph frequently. This progress led Edison to risk that a telephone message could also be recorded in a similar fashion. He tested with a diaphragm which had a stamping point and was held against rapidly-moving paraffin paper. The speaking vibrations made indentations in the paper (Stross, 2010). Edison later changed the paper to a metal cylinder with tin foil wrapped around it. The machine had two diaphragm-and-needle units, one for recording, and one for playback. When one would speak into a mouthpiece, the sound vibrations would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle in a vertical (or hill and dale) groove pattern. Edison gave a sketch of the machine to his mechanic, John Kreusi, to build, which Kreusi supposedly did within 30 hours. Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking the nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, "Mary had a little lamb." To his
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