Sound recording predates Edison's phonograph

The newly discovered phonoautograph of the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune," made in 1860, is now considered the earliest known sound recording.

It's not exactly Gershwin's "An American in Paris," but there is one thing very significant about an archaic 10-second recording discovered earlier this month in the City of Lights by a group of American audio historians: it is the earliest known sound recording. The phonoautograph of the folk song "Au Clair de la Lune" was made in 1860, some 17 years before the advent of Thomas Edison's phonograph. And get this: it was a visual tool, not an audio one. Still, scientists figured out how to make it play.

Read more at The New York Times: "Researchers Play Tune Recorded Before Edison"

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments