Phonograph's Birthday, December 6, 1877
laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, on November 29, 1877, Thomas
Alva Edison gave a sketch for his tin-foil phonograph to John Kruesi
and instructed him to build it. On December 4, 1877, Charles Batchelor,
Edison's associate and right-hand man, wrote in his diary "Kruesi
made phonograph today." On December 6 Batchelor's diary reads: "Kruesi
finished the phonograph."
6, 1877 is celebrated as the birthday of the phonograph by Friends
of the Phonograph.
birthday celebration activities are to enjoy birthday cake and
sing Happy Birthday to the Phonograph.
day that honors completion of the phonograph and the successful recording
and play back, word for word, of what Edison says were his first words
spoken to the Phonograph, "a little piece of practical poetry:
had a little lamb,
fleece was white as snow,
everywhere that Mary went,
lamb was sure to go.
Edison's words repeated back from a sheet of tin-foil wrapped around
a cylinder amazed everyone in the room. Even Edison was astonished
when he heard his phonograph speak for the first time. "I was never
so taken aback in my life," Edison later recalled.
tin-foil playing machine was taken the next day to the offices of
Scientific American for a triumphant demonstration, an account
of which was published in the December
22, 1877 issue of Scientific
on the Harper's Weekly newspaper (below) for how the
invention was reported in March 1878.
courtesy of tinfoil.com