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Published on January 31st, 2012 | by Alan Cross

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Ancient Audio Recordings Discovered

When Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, he had no real use for music.  He believed that his rotating cylinders should be used as telephone answering machines, dictation machines, educational tools and for capture the words of the great and famous. 

Music?  Bah.

Yesterday officials at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park announced the existence of some truly remarkable spoken-word recordings.  

The cylinders, made in 1889 and 1890, featuring some of the oldest examples of audio recordings.  

One contains the voice of Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Germany.  Another features a military strategist reciting lines from Shakespeare.  Helmuth von Moltke was 89 when he made those recordings, meaning he was born in 1800.

Fascinating stuff.  Read more in the New York Times.





About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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