Examples from the Berkeley Lab Recorded Sound Restoration Project

Last Update 23-September-2013

Recording of Alexander Graham Bell 1885 (excerpts)

The recording is over 4 minutes long and  consists mostly of counting.  At the end he identifies himself as follows:  This record has been made by Alexander Graham Bell in the presence of Dr. Chichester A. Bell— on the 15th of April 1885 at the Volta Laboratory 1221 Connecticut Avenue, Washington D. C. In witness whereof—hear my voice | Alexander Graham Bell”

Here is a link to that segment:

http://bio16p.lbl.gov/Smithsonian/Audio/2013%20Release/This-record-DCFIR.wav

The bit at the end where he says “hear my voice” is further excerpted at

http://bio16p.lbl.gov/Smithsonian/Audio/2013%20Release/Hear-my-voice-DCFIR.wav

Wax cylinder recording of Melville Bell (AG Bell’s father) 1881.

This is a very early example of a recording on wax.  It was Bell’s innovation to replace tinfoil with wax, a more durable medium.  The text is:  “T-r-r—T-r-r—There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamed of in our philosophy—T-r-r—I am a Graphophone and my mother was a Phonograph.”

http://bio16p.lbl.gov/Smithsonian/Audio/2013%20Release/wax-graph--44100-MERGED-DCFIR.wav

The St. Louis Tinfoil 1878

This is a recording made using an early commercial Edison phonograph as part of a public demonstration in June of 1878.  It is the oldest Edison technology recording played, in modern times, to date.  The speaker is journalist Thomas Mason. The record is over 1 minute long and can be accessed in full and in pieces at this URL:

http://websnap08.lbl.gov/Tinfoil.html

Leon Scott paper phonautograms 1860

Earliest recordings of a human voice. Restored by the FirstSounds collaboration including Berkeley Lab.

http://www.firstsounds.org/sounds/1860-Scott-Au-Clair-de-la-Lune-05-09.mp3

California Native American field recordings by Alfred Kroeber and associates (~1912)

This is an example of a wax cylinder recording of Ishi, then the only surviving member of the Yahi, of Northern California, and is part of the telling of the story of “Wood Duck”

http://irene.lbl.gov/Hearst_Examples/1596_Ishi-HardFIR.wav

Example of the restoration of a broken disc

This is a 78 rpm shellac disc recording of “Too Fat Polka”, performed by Louis Prima and Orchestra, in the late 1940’s.  The disc is broken into about six pieces.  It was scanned optically and digitally re-assembled.

2013 examples\Too Fat Polka Clip.wav

 

Other General Information

Main project link http://irene.lbl.gov/

Short project description Handout-LBNL-2013.pdf

Longer project description Sound-Project-0513.pdf

Public presentation (large pdf) http://irene.lbl.gov/Harvard-April-2012-public.pdf

AG Bell Volta Lab Project:

2011 study http://bio16p.lbl.gov/volta-release.html

2013 study http://bio16p.lbl.gov/volta-release-2013.html

Edison Tinfoil Project  http://websnap08.lbl.gov/Tinfoil.html

Edison Talking Doll http://www.nps.gov/edis/photosmultimedia/early-talking-doll-recording-discovered.htm

 

Carl Haber

Physics Division

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

chhaber@lbl.gov