Thursday, July 14, 2011

Edison’s 123-year-old talking doll recording could be oldest surviving commercial audio

Scientists using advanced imaging technology have recovered a 123-year-old recording made by Thomas Edison that is believed to be the world’s first attempt at a talking doll and may mark the dawn of the American recording industry. Yet almost 80 years after the mystery woman lent her voice to Edison, the recording showed up in 1967 in the archives of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, having been recovered from a secretary’s desk drawer in Edison’s laboratory. More than four decades later, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., used image analysis in May to create a digital model of the record’s surface. That model was then used to reproduce the recording as a digital file, not unlike the modern technology behind the voice that emerges from today’s talking dolls. More>