With the completion of the
Phonograph at Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory on December
6, 1877 sound was essentially redefined as Edison had
captured the ephemeral human voice and played it
Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville had recorded
sound with his Phonautograph, however, Scott did not conceive
or design his machine to speak back the recordings. (2)
Likewise, French poet and
Cros had described his concept of such an invention
that he intended to name the Paleophone (voix du passť).
Cros submitted his concept in a sealed envelope to the French
Academy on April 30, 1877 but it was not read in public
until December 3, 1877. Cros never built a successful working
model of his Paleophone.
The first public demonstration
of a machine that recorded sound and played it back was
Edison's Phonograph at the office of Scientific American
in New York City on December 7, 1877. That demonstration
resulted in the publication of "The
Talking Phonograph," an article which explained
how the phonograph worked but also included the writer's
reaction to a machine that was changing the perception of
ephemeral sound. "It is impossible to listen to
the mechanical speech without his experiencing the idea
that his senses are deceiving him."
The revolution of recorded
sound in popular culture had officially begun. Its evolution
continues in the 21st century.