Edison And The Development Of The Phonograph
Thomas Edison’s first phonograph recorded sound onto tinfoil cylinders; often, the date for his invention is claimed to be August 12, 1877, although one of Edison’s aides, Charles Batchelor, stated in his diary that the machine was not constructed until December 4. Additionally, Edison did not file for the patent until December 24 of that year; the patent was issued on February 19, 1878. One other person, a French scientist named Charles Cros had also developed a theory similar to Edison’s ideas for the phonograph, but never actually produced a working model.
Edison created the phonograph while he was working on another project, trying to improve the efficiency of a telegraph transmitter. As he studied the machine, he noticed a noise resembling spoken words coming out of the tape of the machine if it was played at a high speed. This observation led him to wonder whether he could record a telephone message that could be sent repeatedly over the telegraph. He started to experiment by attaching a needle to the diaphragm of a telephone receiver, thinking that it could prick rapidly moving paraffin paper to record sound. The machine he created had two units, one to record the sound and the other to play it back. His next step was to use a stylus on a metal cylinder wrapped in tinfoil. He sketched his ideas for the machine and gave the sketch to his mechanic, John Kruesi to build. Using this machine, he managed to record “Mary had a little lamb.” After this invention, people started calling him “The Wizard of Menlo Park.”