Voice of Thomas Edison's talking doll is heard again after 123 years
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Posted 17 July 2011 - 07:18 AM
For decades it lay in the bottom of a secretary's desk drawer, its purpose unknown. But now, 123 year after it was made, the secret of this bent metal ring, which was found in Thomas Edison's laboratory, has finally been uncovered. Scientists have found that the microscopic grooves on the ring make up the tune of 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star' and mark the world's first attempt at a talking doll and the dawn of America's recording industry.
Using advanced imaging technology they have recovered a 12 second sound recording of woman reciting a verse of the children's song. They believe the tin ring was intended to be the key component of one of Thomas Edison's talking dolls Historians think Edison hired the woman to make the recording less than two years before he unsuccessfully put the first talking doll on the market.
'Based on the date of fall 1888, it is the oldest American-made recording of a woman's voice that we can listen to today,' said Patrick Feaster, a historian at Indiana University in Bloomington. Mr Feaster pored over historical documents and 19th-century newspaper reports to piece together the story behind the recording.
Edison hoped to mass-produce the toys, but the era's rudimentary technology meant that to make 100 dolls, Edison would have to get artists to recite the lullaby 100 times.
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