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Victorian inventions: the phonograph

Thomas Edison and the invention of the phonograph

The story is told by John Kruesi, an engineer working for the inventor, Thomas Edison. Kruesi describes how he helped make working models of the machines designed by Thomas Edison, and in particular the phonograph in 1877.

Edison was demonstrating a telegraph machine to John and another engineer - Harry - and told them he had invented a similar device which he thought might reproduce speech.

Harry and John had to make up the machine according to Edison's sketches, even though they were unsure about what it was supposed to do and whether it would work.

Eventually the machine was ready to be tested and John was amazed when Edison shouted the words 'Mary had a little lamb' into the machine and then was able to replay them.

Edison couldn't wait to announce his invention and summoned journalists from all the New York newspapers to demonstrate his device for recording and playing back the human voice and to explain how he envisaged people in the future being able to use his phonograph to listen to recorded music in their own homes.

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