The Phonograph

Essay by jasontang06Junior High, 9th gradeA, June 2008

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The Phonograph

The phonograph is a device, which is used to record and replay music back in the days. It was the first ever-successful device to actually record and replay the voice of a human. What led to the discovery of the phonograph is the very successful inventions called the telephone and the telegraph first built by Thomas Edison. The Phonograph is like a son of a marriage between the telegraph and the telephone. These two technologies, which provided the urge in needing a phonograph and the means to make one. Building the phonograph was very tough; Edison faced various problems while getting to the end of the phonograph project. The technology to produce the phonograph was provided by both the telephone and the telegraph. Early in 1877 Edison and his staff workers were working with both the telephone and the telegraph. For the telephone Edison was experimenting with how a diaphragm could change a voice into an electrical signal.

At the same time he was working on the telegraph to create a repeater. This new invention by Edison used a stylus to mark the paper with dots and dashes from a telegraph signal. Edison got the idea of attaching the stylus from a telegraph repeater to the diaphragm in the mouthpiece of a telephone. Then as he yelled across the diaphragm he put a paper underneath the point where the stylus was. Just like inside a telephone the diaphragm vibrated. This made the stylus mark things on the paper. He tried this experiment in July 1877. He tried to replay what he recorded but his invention didn't work. But it did produce a weird sound, which sounded almost alike, and he knew that this was the cause of his voice. This was a clue for him, and from that point Thomas Edison was convinced that he could build something that can record the human voice perfectly. After that Edison and his staff members worked on the problem and didn't solve it until December 3rd when they finally found the solution. To solve the problem, Edison and his employees replaced the paper with a tin foil and installed in a hand crank in order to turn the cylinder during the recording and playback is in process. Using the tin foil was a success, that night of December 3rd, Edison said into his machine "Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow, and everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go."

After saying those words, elision clicked clay and all the staff members around him and he was surprised by the way how the machine repeated every single word without no glitch, very clearly. Many people did not believe in the device recording and replaying a human voice but soon, Edison was a big celebrity and went on tours demonstrating his new invention. His new invention was a big hit and as usual Edison stopped working on his phonograph for a while. After a decade, another man named Tainter who was working for Alexander Graham Bell was interested in the phonograph. He decided to use the phonograph and improve on it, so he decided to use wax instead of tin foil to make the recording medium better. Then a while later another woman named Ezra Gilliland began to also experiment with the phonograph and Edison regained his interest, because of these other two people. Finally he built final phonograph, with the Tainter improvement, and with a electric motor and a speaking trumpet.

After the success in building the phonograph, Edison opened a Edision Phonograph Corporation. Over there he sold many phonographs and recordings. Recordings were small records of music made by other music artists. This lead to a whole new meaning to listening, because of the phonograph people the society was now able listen to music through the phonograph as a entertainment and the records were also used to record normal random voice records. As time went on people soon started to create their own records and started selling them. Just like now we have Music by famous artists burned into a CD as an Album of the artist, back then people had their records and play it.

Soon after time, new inventions started to be built, more advanced and with more appearance. The phonograph was not in fashion anymore; more people switched devices as more advanced inventions were formed. One of the earliest inventions followed by the Phonograph is the Turntable. The turntable is a very inexpensive record player, which is almost very similar to the phonograph. It was first built in 1979 and it had a very special feature, which enables incredible rotation and speed on the medium, this helps make new beats and play around with the music. This feature was very popular back in the days and is still now.

After that came the arm system, the arm system is another record player and it was built in 1972. This device is only used to listen to record, and with this device you are unable to re-record. The device cost about 30 euro back then, the price of a good condition mp3 player in the 21st centaury. The arm system, all it does is that it has a stylus almost similar to the one the phonograph has and all we got to do is drag the stylus on top of the record to listen to record and remove it from the record for it to stop. It was also quite popular and most of the radio stations were using it to broadcast music.

As time went on, we came into more advanced technologies and we are more advanced. Now in the 21st centaury, because of the phonograph and all the other inventions following it, we now have devices such as tape recorder, CD player, mp3 etc. Without the discovery of the phonograph us human beings would have never thought of actually replaying our own human voice. We would never been able to create music and let other people hear them. Just like how the phonograph works, we are now more advanced and we now use special types of lens to read the magnetic data on our disks and tapes. If It weren't for the phonograph we would still be stuck with listening to music without ever having to get a replay and never be able to record our human voice.