Huffpost UK Tech uk

World's Oldest Sound Recording Remastered In Digital Audio (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
Thomas Edison with his sound recording device
Thomas Edison with his sound recording device

The oldest known recording in the world has been heard again after it was converted digitally.

The recording, made on Thomas Edison's sound recording machine in 1878, is now little more than a flimsy piece of tinfoil.

Originally a hand crank would have turned the cylinder under a stylus, which would create the recording. After a few listens the foil would usually be torn, and the pieces would be handed out as souveniers.

Very few of these recordings remain, and none can be played without destroying them.

But the bumps and grooves on the recorded were able to be mapped optically and turned into a digital file - meaning it can now be heard for the first time in decades.

"We couldn't touch it," said John Schneiter at the Museum of Innovation and Science in New York. "To touch it is to destroy it."

The recording features 78 seconds of sound, including a cornet solo and a man reciting two nursery rhymes - and actually getting the words wrong to "Old Mother Hubbard".

"Look at me, I don't know the song," the man says in the recording, thought to be a political writer from St Louis - Thomas Mason.