Tinfoil Phonograph

The Tinfoil Phonograph

tinfoilinnovation

Edison’s 1877 invention of the tinfoil phonograph, the first machine that could record and reproduce sound, astonished the world and made him an international celebrity.

  • Inventing Sound Recording

    On July 17, 1877, Edison was thinking about recording telephone messages.  Edison was thinking of the telephone as a "speaking telegraph." He therefore envisioned using a recorder similar to the embossing recorder-repeater he was developing for Western Union.  Still reflecting on this idea the...
  • Inventing the Wizard of Menlo Park

    These first public demonstrations produced a trickle of articles that soon turned into a steady stream and by the end of March had become a veritable flood.  Initially, the news reports contained little more than descriptions of the phonograph and how it worked or accounts of demonstrations of the new...
  • The Response to the Phonograph

    The simple mechanism and operation of the phonograph seemed astounding to the general public and scientific community alike.  This was also the reason that some in the scientific community were skeptical of the initial reports.  The New York Sun quoted one professor who called the "idea of a talking...
  • Marketing the Phonograph

    Edison had grand expectations for his invention. As he told one reporter, "this is my baby and I expect it to grow up to be a big feller and support me in my old age." The public soon clamored for the instrument. In early February, just after the formation of the Edison Speaking Phonograph...