1877: First Phonograph
Location: United States of America
By: Thomas A. Edison
Thomas Edison, after attempting to improve the telegraph, invented the phonograph in 1877. Edison was interested in creating a device that would store telegraphic messages via imprints on paper to be reused telegraphically time after time. The phonograph, also known as a gramophone, is a machine that records and plays back recorded sounds through the use of two diaphragms and two styluses. When a person talks into the mouthpiece, the sounds are indented by a stylus on a metal tin-foiled cylinder as vertical wave patterns. The first words to ever be recorded and played back by a phonograph were: “Mary had a little lamb”, a well known nursery rhyme.
The invention of the phonograph received much public attention; many American newspapers and magazines featured the phonograph, increasing its popularity. Edison hoped that the phonograph would be used for the following purposes among others: teach elocution, reproduce music, time-announcing clocks, preserve languages and their pronunciation, and clarify lessons. The phonograph was important because it allowed messages to be recorded and be replayed as many times possible afterwards, at the discretion of the users. Additionally, it led to the development of improved sound-reproducing machines, making the recording and distribution of music possible.