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The Phonograph

Information to do with Thomas Edison's invention in 1877, the phonograph.  

The age of sound recording and reproduction began with Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph in 1877. His analogue device was operated by speaking into a horn whilst revolving a tin foil cylinder. 

Attached to the horn was a diaphragm that vibrated in response to the incoming sound waves, and attached to the diaphragm was a needle, called a stylus, which etched onto the tin foil a wave that mirrored the diaphragm's vibrations. 

To reproduce the recorded sounds the stylus retraced the etching, causing an identical reproduction of the diaphragm's vibrations during recording. Thus the changes in the surrounding air pressure matched the original sound waves.

Emile Berliner replaced the cylinder with a laterally grooved flat disc. This is the modern turntable and now the vibrations of the stylus cause a transducer to produce the varying voltage and the waveform is amplified electronically rather than by vibrating a mechanical diaphragm. A copy of Berliner's patent for his gramophone is held at the Archives.