Watch this microscopic movie of a stylus tracking the grooves of a vinyl record

The technology underlying vinyl dates all the way back to the summer of 1877 when Thomas Edison demonstrated his new talking machine–an invention he called a “phonograph”–in the offices of Scientific American.

The word phonograph means “sound writing” in Greek (φωνή +γραφή). Sound is “written” as bumps, dips and undulations within the grooves of the rotating disc. When a stylus is dragged through those grooves, it read those bumps and turns them back into sound.

This is what it’s doing when you listen to a record. (Via

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.