The Thomas Edison National Historical Park photograph collection contains more than 12,000 photographic images relating to the life of Thomas Edison. A description of the collection and downloadable higher-resolution photographs are available on NP Gallery (npgallery.nps.gov/edis). This project is in progress, check back frequently as more assets are uploaded.
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We have compiled a selection of Edison sound recordings from the Thomas Edison National Historical Park archive in MP3 Format.
The Origins of Sound Recording
This web presentation highlights the latest historical research into the beginnings of recorded sound technology, calling attention to the work of French inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville (1817-1879). Scott’s "phonautograph" of 1857 was the earliest sound recording device. Twenty years later, Thomas Edison independently re-invented sound recording in the form of the "phonograph" – the first device to both record and reproduce (or “playback”) sound. The web exhibit "Who Invented Sound Recording" compares and contextualizes the innovations of Scott and Edison.
On April 29th, 2017, Thomas Edison National Historical Park hosted an international symposium to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Scott's birth, titled “The Origins of Sound Recording: Edouard-Léon Scott de Martinville Bicentennial Symposium.” Watch video recordings of the full program.
In this online presentation, we have assembled every Edison Talking Doll recording known to be available in digital form – eight recordings in total, from five different collections. Learn about Edison's Talking Doll by reading two essays. View historical images of the Edison Talking Doll, and view photos of work to recover sound from a talking doll record.
Hear sound recordings made by Theo Wangemann, Thomas Edison's recording expert, in 1889-1890 during a trip through France, Germany, Prussia, and Austria.
Last updated: May 7, 2021