80-Year-Old Edison Recording Found

It is truly incredible how far people will go to preserve an old photo – or in this case, an old audio recording.

In the basement (isn’t it always the basement?) of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium, the staff found 20 of the earliest radio broadcast recordings. They were originally heard on Schenectady’s WGY radio station between 1929 and 1931.

Among the shows was one of Thomas Edison celebrating his 50th anniversary of the incandescent light bulb, possibly the first recording of the NBC chimes, and a high school basketball game thought to be the second oldest surviving sports broadcast.

They were recorded on a machine called the pallophotophone – an early device GE developed to record sound. When the museum staff and GE engineers finally figured out how to play the recordings, they found another problem — there are no pallophotophones in existence. So, they created one using more current technology. Here’s what they created:

[from GE Reports]


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