The Revolution of Sound
With the completion of the Phonograph on December 6, 1877 the revolution of sound began, culturally and in rpms.
Thomas Alva Edison and his head machinist, John Kruesi, had successfully captured the human voice and played it back on Edison's "Talking Phonograph." (1)
What are Phonographia?
Phonographia are objects and images and words that contribute to our memory of the Phonograph.
Phonographia are found in art, advertisements, personal stories and literature, photographs, movies, greeting cards, postcards, cartoons and many other formats including talking machines and records from their respective era.
Who are Phonographians?
Phonographians are Friends of the Phonograph who enjoy all connections to the Phonograph.
The Phonograph Lives!
The revolution that began with the Phonograph is a continuum.
We still have record players and descendent technologies that record and reproduce sound waves.
And most remarkably, launched one hundred years after the invention of the phonograph, Voyager 1 and 2 are travelling in interstellar space each carrying a phonograph record that is Earth's "message in the bottle" and "greetings from Earth" (3).
Images, sounds and music on the Voyager's "Golden Record" are intended to represent life on planet Earth. As Carl Sagan noted, however, the record would only be played "if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space") (2).
So perhaps the "Golden Record" will never be played. But never is a long time and there actually is the mind-bending possibility that the Voyager record will exist longer than humans on Earth.
Go to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) website, read more about the "Golden Record" and see real-time numbers of how far these records have travelled.
Remember the Phonograph!
Next time you hear recorded sound remember the Phonograph. It's a Revolution still turning!
(1) "The Talking Phonograph," Scientific American, December 22, 1877
(2) Listen HERE for a listing of sounds of Earth on Voyager's Golden Record
(3) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology - http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/goldenrec.html
The Voyager's phonograph records used a needle and "grooves" and were not laser discs although images were viewable on the discs. The record used analog technology and the audio was played at 16 2/3 rpm. The overall intent was remarkable - communicate "a story of our world to extraterrestrials."
For more information about this Voyager phonograph record sent to the stars, read Carl Sagan's "Murmurs of Earth" or visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website "What is the Golden Record?"
Trumpeting the Revolution and text from "Black Rock Portraits on the Playa" Photographs by Douglas Keister ©1990
"With morning-glory horn in hand, I take this opportunity to remind all: Do not forget the Phonograph.On December 6th, wish the Phonograph a Happy Birthday. The magic is alive."