10 Recordings that Changed History: Part 1 of 10

10 Recordings that Changed History: Part 1 of 10

Last Updated on October 19, 2021

220px-Thomas_Edison2
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Over the next 10 weeks we will cover the top 10 recordings made that changed history. Please let us know if we miss any good ones!

#10 Thomas’s Little Lamb

“Mary had a little lamb, little lamb…”

Those  were the first recorded words spoken by a human voice, back in 1877. Thomas A. Edison, one of the most creative minds in history, tested the very first sound recording device, the “Phonograph” (also called the “Gramaphone”).

When asked why he chose Mary had a little lamb, he said that was the only thing he could think of at the moment.

How the First Recording Device Was Born

Few people know that this wasn’t the first sound recording device which Edison invented.

It was, however, the first device which could record vibrations and then reproduce them as audible sounds. Before that, Edison had created devices which could “record” the vibration of the human voice as scratches or grooves on an aluminum surface, but no playback was possible.

Looking at these early “recordings,” Edison wondered if he might be able to reverse the process and reproduce the recorded sounds again as audible vibrations.

That was when he started working on the Phonograph machine. As with all Edison’s inventions, it took many failed attempts over a period of years. But the bulldog persistence which we all know Edison for finally won out.

He did it by preserving the sound saves as grooves on a rotating disc. Then, he used a playback stylus to reproduce the grooves on the disc as audible vibrations.

How We Got From There to Here

The phonograph concept was improved upon by Alexander Graham Bell in the 1880’s when he used wax-coated cardboard cylinders, and an improved cutting stylus which could capture a smoother, more realistic recording.

Ten years later, Emile Berliner started using an even more advanced spiral groove for capturing the vibrations. From there, most of the improvements were made to the turntable, the needle, the stylus and the sound equalizers.

Finally, we ended up with the record players which have now become antiques because of the rise of digital recording and playback devices. But that’s where it all started.  The first recording that changed history was a child’s nursery rhyme.

The other nine recordings, however, changed history more because of their context.

 Number 9 of the top 10>>

Last Updated on October 19, 2021