Latest in Chris hunter

Image credit:

GE's early 20th century pallophotophone recorder decoded, Thomas Edison speech uncovered

Laura June
06.20.10
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

In 1922, General Electric developed a machine for recording audio called the pallophotophone, which recorded sound on 35mm film. It is thought to be the world's first multitrack recording system (and it predated magnetic tape multitrack recording by about 20 years). The device never really made it to the big time, however, and until very recently, almost no one bothered to think about it anymore. Then Chris Hunter, curator of the Schenectady Museum in Schenectady, New York discovered 12 canisters of the film in his archives. Though none of GE's original pallophotophone machines seem to have survived, current GE engineer Russ DeMuth became involved in the project, and spent two years building a modern pallophotophone based on GE's original sketches, out of modern materials, dubbing the new one the Gizmotron. The modern device plays the original films just fine, and included in their canisters were a couple of real gems -- what's thought to be the earliest recording of the NBC chimes, and a speech given by Thomas Edison commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invention of the incandescent lightbulb. A photo of the modern Gizmotron and its inventors is below -- hit up the source for the full story and hear the Edison audio.


All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2019 Back-to-School Guide

View
Tesla suspension update helps Model S and Model X high-speed driving

Tesla suspension update helps Model S and Model X high-speed driving

View
Singapore forgoes Tesla's electric 'lifestyle' for buses

Singapore forgoes Tesla's electric 'lifestyle' for buses

View
Chicago will test Samsung's DeX in-vehicle solution in cop cars

Chicago will test Samsung's DeX in-vehicle solution in cop cars

View
Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

Apple warns against storing its titanium credit card in leather

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr