With the completion of the
Phonograph at Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory on December
6, 1877 recorded sound took an amazing step as Edison had
captured the human voice and played it back.
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
inventor Charles 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, therefore,
was Edison's Phonograph at the office of Scientific American
in New York City on December 7, 1877. That demonstration
resulted in "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.