Year: 1889

The New Talking Machines – The Atlantic

The New Talking Machines – The Atlantic

The first idea of a genuine talking-machine appears to belong to Thomas A. Edison, who, in 1875, took out patents upon a device intended to reproduce complex sounds, such as those of the human voice. Of the thousands of persons who in that year visited the small room in the Tribune building, in New York, where the first phonograph was for months on exhibition, very few were found to hope much for the invention. It was apparently a toy of no practical value; its talking was more or less of a caricature upon the human voice, and only when one knew what had been said to the phonograph could its version be understood. Edison’s early phonograph nevertheless contained every essential feature of the new instruments which he and other inventors are about to introduce. It was founded upon the discovery that if a delicate diaphragm or sounding-board is provided with a sharp point of steel, its vibrations under the sound of the human voice will cause the sharp point or stylus to make a series …