• Heavy Machine Shop

    Thomas Edison

    National Historical Park New Jersey

Listen to Edison Sound Recordings

Follow the genre links (below) to hear the MP3s:

Thomas Edison made his first sound recordings on sheets of tinfoil at Menlo Park, New Jersey in 1877. At West Orange, New Jersey in 1888, he developed a solid wax cylinder record. During 1896-1897, Edison organized the National Phonograph Company and began mass-producing cylinder recordings of music and entertainment. Edison merged the National Phonograph Company with several of his other companies in 1911 to form Thomas A. Edison, Incorporated. The following year, Thomas A. Edison, Incorporated introduced the Edison Diamond Disc record. Record production continued until 1929, when Edison left the entertainment phonograph business due to declining sales.

We have compiled a selection of Edison recordings from the Thomas Edison National Historical Park archive in MP3 format, arranged (below) by genre. The content of the recordings is mostly music, covering many different genres popular in the United States during Edison's era. Spoken word recordings include vaudeville comedy sketches, documentary speeches, educational lessons, and motion picture soundtracks. Experimental recordings document research carried out at the Edison Laboratory to develop recorded sound technology.

 

Did You Know?

The talking doll that Edison sold had a ceramic head and metal body.

Was Teddy Ruxpin the first talking doll? Think again. Some of the first phonographs that Thomas made were actually talking dolls. The dolls were 18" tall and each had a very small phonograph in its body. The dolls repeated nursery rhymes. You could even buy dolls that spoke different languages.