Early Sound Recordings From Alexander Graham Bell Recovered, Played Again | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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

Stephen Hawking Says Zayn Malik Could Still Be In One Direction In A Parallel Universe

Millions of hearts were broken last month when Zayn Malik left One Direction, but according to physicist Stephen Hawking, that might not be the case after all.
NPR

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Bartender Ran Duan will represent the U.S. in a Bacardi international cocktail competition. His specialty? "Father's Advice," a stirred-not-shaken cocktail that's a testament to his hardworking dad.
WAMU 88.5

Warren Weinstein's Death Has Local Lawmakers Debating Drone Policies

Lawmakers in the D.C. region are mourning the loss of Maryland native Warren Weinstein, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. The killing has lawmakers debating drone policies once again.
NPR

How Tech Firms Are Helping People In The Nepal Earthquake Zone

Tech and telecom companies stepped up with much needed services. Facebook and Google offered tools to help those in the region let family and friends know they're OK. Other firms cut calling costs.

Leave a Comment

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