Please visit this page and listen to the brief sound clips on the page, mainly the first 3. These recordings were made BETWEEN 1857 AND 1860. WTF?! For those keeping track, that’s 20 years before Edison created the phonograph.

These recordings were made by the PHONAUTOGRAM. This device was created in France and was never intended to be used to play back sound. Rather, the machine made visual representations of the frequencies made by sounds. However, JUST THIS YEAR, computer technology was developed that can interpret the images and turn them back into sounds.

I got chills listening to these clips because 1) they’re mega creepy thanks to the distortion and 2) they’re from 1857! One consists of someone singing and one consists of some background noise followed by a tuning fork. The latter recording appears to be the first one to get restoration treatment and the last few seconds of the recording reflect that – it’s very clear.

The whole thing is sweet. Check it out.



One response to “Phonautograms

  1. i’m glad SOMEBODY had the brains to post about this. i’m not sure why i didn’t. it’s so cool. even if you aren’t a nerdy recording guy, i think you can appreciate this.

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