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Audiovisual carriers

Wax cylinder


The phonograph, a so-called "talking machine", was invented by Edison in 1877, and is considered one of the most significant developments in the field of recorded sound. Short recordings were embossed on a cylinder wrapped with tinfoil. Between 1881 and 1886, Chichester A. Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter replaced the tinfoil with a wax-coated cardboard cylinder. Finally, in 1888, Edison developed the definitive version of the phonograph. This model had an electric motor, and the cylinder was first made of wax and later of shellac. These cylinders were manufactured by various companies such as Bettini, Columbia, and Pathé until about 1910. The cylinder was used for years to make field recordings for scientific research.

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