NPR : News

Filed Under:

Early Sound Recordings From Alexander Graham Bell Recovered, Played Again

Sound recordings that hadn't been heard since they were first made by Alexander Graham Bell and others in the 1880s were played publicly Tuesday at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The sounds captured in the collection include recited verse, human sounds and basic factual information such as the date.

The recordings — long stored at the Smithsonian Institution — were made on cylinders and discs of varying design. The Library of Congress teamed up with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to decode the recordings. The AP describes the process:

"Many recordings are fragile, and until recently it had not been possible to listen to them without damaging the discs or cylinders, the news release said. So far, six discs have been successfully submitted to the sound recovery process, which creates a high-resolution digital map of the disc or cylinder. The map is processed to remove scratches and skips, and software reproduces the audio content and produces a standard digital sound file."

More detailed information on how the maps are made can be found on the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's website. You can actually listen to some of the recovered sound on another page at the same site.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Credibility Concerns Overshadow Release Of Gay Talese's New Book

NPR's Kelly McEvers speaks with Paul Farhi of the Washington Post about Gay Talese's new book, The Voyeur's Hotel. The credibility of the book, which follows a self-proclaimed sex researcher who bought a hotel to spy on his guests through ventilator windows, has been called into question after Farhi uncovered problems with Talese's story.
NPR

Amid Craft Brewery Boom, Some Worry About A Bubble — But Most Just Fear Foam

Fueled by customers' unquenchable thirst for the next great flavor note, the craft beer industry has exploded like a poorly fermented bottle of home brew.
NPR

White House Documents Number Of Civilians Killed In U.S. Drone Strikes

The Obama administration issued a long awaited report Friday, documenting the number on civilians who have been accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes. Human rights activists welcome the administration's newfound transparency, though some question whether the report goes far enough.
NPR

Tesla 'Autopilot' Crash Raises Concerns About Self-Driving Cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating a fatal crash involving a Tesla car using the "autopilot" feature. NPR's Robert Siegel talks to Alex Davies of Wired about the crash and what it means for self-driving car technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.